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May 15, 2014

U.S. Planting Last Week Caught up to the Average Pace

Some U.S. farmers last week planted their corn and soybeans at a record pace allowing the nationwide planting to catch up to the average pace. The weather this week is forecasted to be cool and wet especially in the eastern Corn Belt. As a result, the planting pace next Monday may again be slightly behind the average.

U.S. Corn - Last week was a good week for planting and as a result U.S. farmers planted 30% of their intended corn acreage in one week. The corn planting pace is now tied with the five year average. As of Sunday 59% of the 2014 corn crop has been planned compared to 26% last year and 58% for the five-year average. The corn emergence is now 18% compared to 5% last year and 25% for the average. Of the 18 major producing states 9 are ahead of the average planting pace and 8 are behind the average planting pace with one tie.

The five states furriest ahead in corn planting (percentage wise) are: Illinois (+25%), Missouri (+24%), Indiana (+16%), South Dakota (+11%), and Tennessee (+11%). The five states furriest behind in corn planting (percentage wise) are: Minnesota (-31%), North Dakota (-30%), Michigan (-21%), Wisconsin (-21%), and Pennsylvania (-14%).

As you can see, the area of concern for corn planting continues to be the northern arch of states from North Dakota over to Michigan. The most worrisome state is North Dakota where only 3% of the intended corn acres have been planted and the forecast for the state does not look very promising with more cool temperatures predicted for most of this week.

U.S. Soybeans - Farmers also made good progress with their soybean planting as well. As of Sunday, 20% of the soybeans have been planted compared to 5% last year and 21% average. Of the 18 major states, 9 are ahead of the average planting pace and 9 are behind the average planting pace. Most of the states that are behind in planting are also across the northern tier of states.

U.S. Acreage and Yield Estimates Remain Unchanged - Even though the corn planting pace caught up to average this week, the corn emergence rate will continue to be slower than average especially with the cooler temperatures forecasted for later this week. At the present time, I see no reason not to expect a nationwide corn yield in the range of 163-165 bu/ac. I also feel the corn acreage may be 500,000 acres more than the 91.7 million acres estimated in the March report. I think there will be some corn acres lost in the northwestern Corn Belt, but there may be some corn acres gained because the overall "acreage pie" used by the USDA could be 1-2 million acres too small.

Soybean yields also remained unchanged this week at 44-45 bu/ac and I feel the soybean acreage could end up 1,000,000 acres more than the 81.5 million estimated in the March report. Soybean acreage could be gained in the northwestern Corn Belt and also from an overall increase in the total planted acreage for all crops.