> Something that I do not understand is why if you use a valid_time =
> '2004-01-22 00:00:00' the query will use the index but if you do a
> valid_time >  '2004-01-22 00:00:00' it does not use the index?

Because of the expected number of rows to be returned.  Take a look at the row 
estimates on the forecastleelement scans.   

You can improve these estimates by increasing the ANALYZE stats and/or running 
ANALYZE more often.   Of course, increasing the stats makes analyze run 
slower ...

-Josh Berkus
 Aglio Database Solutions
 San Francisco

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TIP 9: the planner will ignore your desire to choose an index scan if your
      joining column's datatypes do not match

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