Grain bulls were stopped in their tracks by the advance of crop planting technology.Investors hoping that strength in corn and soybeans, at least, in the last session might be the start of something more significant found such expectations challenged by data overnight, highlighting how significantly growers can exploit dry windows for accelerating sowings.The US Department of Agriculture data showed that US farmers planted 11% of their corn crop last week, nearly catching up with the average sowings progress after a rain-delayed start.Corn plantings were, as of Sunday, 17% complete - just 1 point behind the average pace, and 2 points above the level that the market had expected.'Things can get done quickly'The first reading of the season for soybean seedings, meanwhile, showed progress of 6% - twice the typical amount completed for the time of year, and three times the figure of 2% that investors had expected."Planting progress data was slightly bearish," said Joe Lardy at CHS Hedging,Indeed, the data underlined what farmers, equipped with modern machinery, are capable of."Thanks to Precision Planting's new Speed Tubes, corn can be safely placed in the seed trench at speeds of 7.5-9.5 mph," Tregg Cronin at Halo Commodity Company noted."At 7.5mph, a 16-row corn planter can plant 36 acres an hour, while at 9.5mph it can plant 46 acres of corn per hour."With corn planters are large as 120 feet, things can get done quickly."'Things could get interesting'This "should keep producers calm for another 7-10 days", Mr Cronin added, with weather seen returning to a wet pattern which will hamper plantings.
"Heavy rains are slated for the heart of the Corn Belt through this week," said Benson Quinn Commodities."Looking out to May 7, the bulk of the Corn Belt is slated for average-to-above-average precipitation and average-to-below-average temperatures."Mr Cronin said that if corn sowing progress "doesn't move past 50% by the May 7 report, then things could get interesting".Dollar downHowever, with farmers having achieved more sowings last week than the market had expected, easing crop uncertainty, it was hard for bulls to get excited in early deals, even with the dollar easing back a touch more....MUCH MORE