A recent conversation with a farmer within the last few days was enlightening. There was nearly a foot of snow on the ground outside and the temperature as in the 20's. Maybe that accounted for what I was wearing. Forget about making FSA elections and base allotment changes, with the extended deadline, for a moment. Do you know what you're going to plant, where you're getting your seed and what seed treatment you're using?
Whether it's the late spring, low prices causing people to rethink options or the cycle of the moon, there appears to be lots of indecision yet with the clock toward planting season counting down. Just because the start date had been closer to May 1 or after in the past few years doesn't mean it will be this year. Mother Nature can turn the seasons on the dime. That's not what the forecast would suggest – with it calling for cool weather into April, but it's still possible.
Here are decisions we've heard farmers still wrestling with.
Plant soybeans or corn: Every organization related to ag out there is trying to get a handle on acres projections. Rich Morrison of Diversified Services says it's because acres of each crop planted could make a big difference in both near-term and longer-term prices. His money a couple weeks ago was still on lower corn acres and higher soybeans acres, with more people wanting to lower inputs.
Do I stay with a specialty crop? One grower who raises specialty crops under irrigation still wasn't decided a few days ago whether to grow the specialty this year or not? Why? It's partly because he still has the old crop in the bin, and details for this year's program are murky.
Balk on premiums: At least one sizable seed company is trying to squeeze down the premium for growing seed beans. One producer says they're pushing it to the point where it may not pay. Raising seed beans means lots of extra time cleaning the combine and trucks. And in some cases the company dictates what kind of herbicides and even what brand you can use. In some cases that adds more expense.
All is not settled in farm country for 2015. The clock is ticking.