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May 15, 2013

U.S. Corn Planting Progress Remains near Record Slow

Most of the corn planting progress last week in the U.S. was in the far eastern and western Corn Belt. As of Sunday, 28% of the 2013 U.S. corn crop was planted compared to 85% last year and 65% on average. Ohio leads the way in the eastern Corn Belt with 46% of the corn planted followed by Michigan at 32% and Indiana at 30%. In the far western Corn Belt Nebraska has 43% planted and 37% has been planted in South Dakota. In the largest corn producing states, Iowa is 15% planted, Illinois is 17%, and Minnesota is 18% planted.

Cool temperatures kept corn emergence even slower that the planting pace with 5% of the corn emerged compared to 52% emerged last year and 28% on average. We have mentioned many times in the past that the actual growing season starts when the crop emerges, not when it is planted. There is no advantage to planting corn extra early if it takes three weeks for the crop to emerge. In fact, the longer it takes for emergence, the greater the risk of reduced germination and lower plant populations.

Improved weather this week will encourage a more rapid planting pace and with warmer temperatures in the forecast, farmers are no longer worried about the soil temperatures remaining cold after planting, so as soon as the soil is ready, everybody is going to be planting. This week (Wednesday) is the middle of May and approximately 30% to 40% of the corn will be planted by the middle of the month. On average, the U.S. corn crop generally reaches 50% planted sometime during the first ten days of May, but this year, the crop may reach that milestone about two weeks later than average.