SILVER SPRING, MD, April 12, 2019 — Mercaris, a market data and auctions startup that is helping to grow organic and non-GMO agriculture in the U.S., today released its monthly market update analyzing the potential impact of high moisture conditions on spring-time planting for organic farmers.
Data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), through the first week of April 2019, shows that 43% of the U.S. reported soil moisture conditions of “moderately moist” or above. That figure compares to only 21% of the U.S. having “moderately moist” or above conditions in April 2018.
While this normally signals good news, especially with notably dry conditions in 2017 and 2018 that cut into yields, significant flooding along the Missouri River and heavy winter snow falls across the Corn Belt, along with more precipitation coming in the next few weeks, brings concerns of muddy conditions that are difficult for seed planting.
NOAA data also suggests 12% of the country is experiencing “extremely moist” soil conditions at the start of Q2, up from 0% last year. A large portion of the most saturated ground is along the upper Midwest, and eastern Corn Belt, Mercaris found.
Organic farmers, however, may still have a leg up on their conventional counterparts. Due to the wide use of winter cover crops, as well as a strategy of avoiding cross-pollination for certain crops, organic fields are typically planted a week or more after conventional ones. This opens the door for organic farmers to watch the weather for a few more weeks in hopes of a dry period for planting.
“While organic farmers may have an advantage with later planting dates, weather is unpredictable. So, there’s no guarantee fields will dry out enough to avoid working with very wet soil,” said Kellee James, founder and CEO at Mercaris. “We’ll continue to monitor this issue and offer updates as needed.”
Since 2013, Mercaris has been helping its customers capitalize on growing demand for organic and non-GMO foods by providing market access and services tailored to the needs of the identity-preserved agriculture industry. Mercaris focuses its data and services on identity-preserved commodities, including organic and non-GMO corn, soybean, meal, and wheat markets across all regions of the United States and Canada, and recently launched an organic dairy initiative. Mercaris also maintains an online Auctions Platform, a pioneering tool that enables buyers and sellers to find new markets and more profitably trade organic and non-GMO commodities.
Chad Wise | [email protected] | (480) 568-7988