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Planting Progress = Wow, Just Wow

In just about two weeks U.S. corn producers have almost caught up to the five-year average.

Published on: May 28, 2013

To say that corn planters were rolling in earnest in the last two weeks would be an understatement. For the past week corn producers haven't slept, they've been grabbing a sandwich on the go and their dogs may not even recognize them when they pull back in the yard. But the planted acreage has now jumped to 86%, a significant increase over last week's rise to 71% (which was a huge jump from 28% the week before). USDA's latest Crop Progress Report is a lesson in planting capacity.

In fact growers in Illinois caught up with their five-year planting average and in Indiana producers surpassed the average hitting 86% planted versus 77% on average. It was another week of full out moving. And it's paying off. With a spell of wet weather ahead for the heart of the corn belt the biggest worry now is potential replant.

ROLLING HARD: With 86% of the corn crop planted and 54% emerged, perhaps the tension will ease some. Of course there are still a lot of soybeans to plant.
ROLLING HARD: With 86% of the corn crop planted and 54% emerged, perhaps the tension will ease some. Of course there are still a lot of soybeans to plant.

And corn is popping out of the ground too with 54% emerged in the latest report, behind the 67% five-year but a lot closer to average than last week. And talk of warmer weather later in the week should help there too. Most states saw big jumps in emergence with Iowa rising from 13% to 54% in one week; Minnesota popped up from 8% to 40%. Get these new hybrids in the ground and they're going to burst through quickly. Now eyes will be on growing degree days and what that might mean.

For soybeans, the news is better too. Producers pushed planted acres from 24% to 44% in a week. While well behind the 61% five-year average, there's a little more "give" in that soybean planting date. In Indiana, planted acres for soybeans doubled in a week from 30 to 60%; for Iowa the push was even faster rising from 16% to 40% in a week. And Illinois was no slouch either pushing planted acres from 19% to 40% in the same seven days.

About 14% of the new crop has emerged, about half of normal for this time of year, there's some catching up to do for soybeans. The state by state emergence numbers show that Indiana saw a huge jump from 3% emerged to 24% out of the ground. Iowa on the other hand rose from 1% to 8% emerged - but there's a lot of planting left to go.

For winter wheat - about 60% of the crop is heading out versus 72% by this time on average. There were big jumps in Kansas (41% to 74%) and Indiana (33% to 68%). However there's talk of significant crop damage and farmers fearing a yield hit this season. When combines start rolling into the heart of winter wheat country the final yield may surprise (either side of good or bad) many. The crop has been killed on paper a few times this year. However, crop condition has deteriorated dropping from 41% poor to very poor to 42% poor to very poor. The wheat listed as good to excellent stayed at 31%.

Spring wheat planting is catching up at 79% in the ground versus 86% on average. North Dakota and Minnesota are lagging in planting. But 42% of the crop has emerged versus 66% on average.

For cotton, about 59% of the crop is planted, up from 39% the week before and nearing the 69% five-year average. The crop is progressing as more states get a break in the weather. Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and the Carolinas all saw jumps in plantings week over week.

One bright spot is the improving quality of pasture and rangeland. In week-over-week numbers, the acres listed poor to very poor dropped from 30% to 27% and the acreage listed as good to excellent rose from 38% to 42%. Of course, drought is hanging on in the western part of the country, which still crimps pasture and rangeland condition. States with significant hits to pasture and rangeland condition including Kansas at 53% poor to very poor; Colorado at 45%; Nebraska at 65%; New Mexico at 91%; and Texas at 44%.

Keep up with crop conditions and yield estimates on the Farm Futures Statistical Tables and Charts page.