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CME: US Crop Planting Progress Ahead of Average

CME: US Crop Planting Progress Ahead of Average

07 May 2015

US - Crop planting is progressing well in the US, with many states ahead of average for the proportion of final crops planted by this week, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.

That rumbling noise you heard last week was tractors planting millions of acres of corn and soybeans!  

Assuming USDA’s March 31 planting intentions numbers are still in play, the total would be about 41.4 million acres planted to the two crops last week — 32.1 million for corn and 9.3 million for soybeans.   

Key data are shown in the charts.  Some key numbers from Monday’s crop progress report are:

  • Corn planting is completed, as of Sunday, on 55 per cent of intended acres. That number is up 36 per cent from last week and is now well ahead of the actual average for this week over the past 5 years (46.6 per cent) and USDA’s published 5 year average of 38 per cent. The week’s gain even exceeded last year’s week that ended May 10 when 30 per cent of corn acres were planted. 
  • Several leading corn states saw significant corn planting progress. Farmers in Iowa, the nation’s top corn producing state, had 68 per cent of their corn planted as of Sunday. That is up from 14 per cent last week and compares to an average of 39 per cent. Illinois planting is completed on 69 per cent (versus 31 per cent last week and an average of 47 per cent) while Minnesota leads all states — even in the south — at 83 per cent.  That progress is largely due to dry conditions in the far northern plains that have posed few delays.  61 per cent of Missouri’s corn acres are planted versus a normal pace of 55 per cent while Nebraska (57 per cent) is far ahead of its normal pace (38 per cent) for early May.
  • The Eastern Cornbelt is a different story as planting is lagging badly in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Those states have planting complete on only 21, 15 and 7 per cent, respectively, of planned corn acres.  Those numbers compare to 5 year averages of 35, 30 and 21 per cent, respectively, for those states.    
  • Corn planting gained significantly on its normal pace in Tennessee (now 51 per cent completed versus just 17 per cent last week) but still lags its normal level in Kentucky quite badly (25 per cent actual versus 52 per cent over the past 5 years.)
  • Corn has emerged on 9 per cent of all acres as of Sunday. This figure trails the 5 year average of 12 per cent - in much the same last week’s planting progress lagged the average. This figure will reflect last week’s big planting gains next Monday.
  • We are still quite early in the season but soybean planting got rolling as well. The U.S. total (13 per cent) is still just fractionally ahead of the actual average for 2010-2014 (10.6 per cent).  USDA’s 5 year figure is 9 per cent.  
  • Planting in southern states was generally normal with only Louisiana (40 per cent vs. normal of 51 per cent) and Kentucky (1 per cent versus 7 per cent normal) are the only ones trailing badly and Mississippi is well ahead of normal pace (44 per cent) at 52 per cent.
  • The “dry” northern states lead the way in soybean planting. Minnesota (32 per cent vs. normal of 7 per cent) and North Dakota (13 per cent vs. normal of 2 per cent) lead the pack. Iowa and Illinois are also ahead of normal pace.    
  • The eastern Cornbelt states are also trailing in soybean planting.

With all of that said, readers need to realise that early May planting progress is not a key factor for either the corn or soybean crops.  

Planting progress is obviously key for farmers to achieve (or exceed) their planned acreages of the crops. Timely planting can also remove the risk of an early frost having a serious impact on yield, and the progress we’ve seen so far is encouraging on this count.  

But the actual national yields of both crops are very poorly correlated to early planting progress. The lack of planting progress in June is negative but getting planting done in May is not nearly as important as summer temperatures and rainfall.   

USDA’s first estimates of range and pasture condition shows improvement relative to last year.

13 per cent of acres are rated as being in poor or very poor condition as of this week. That compares to 22 per cent one year ago.  

53 per cent of all pastures were rated as good or excellent. That compares to just 39 per cent last year.  Mother Nature is providing the key resource needed to support the expansion of the beef cow herd, and the heifers are already in place.

TheCropSite News Desk

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