May 1, 2013

2013 U.S. Corn Planting Continues at Anemic Pace

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Cold and wet weather continues to delay the U.S. corn planting and as of Sunday, only 5% of the U.S. corn crop had been planted with most of the planting progress occurring in the more southern locations. The states of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri reported that 24%, 47%, and 15% of the corn in those states had been planted, respectively. In the heart of the Midwestern Corn Belt, less than 2% of the corn has been planted.

The slow planting pace could start to improve if only the temperatures would warm up to more normal levels. The warmer temperatures would speed up the drying process especially on the lighter soils (more sandy and less clay) where some initial corn planting could occur.

The start of corn planting in the northwestern Corn Belt will continue to be delayed especially in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota where major flooding is expected along the Red River. The Nation Weather Service is predicting that the river will crest at Fargo on Wednesday at 35.5 feet, which is 17.5 feet above flood stage. The flood crest is now expected to be lower than a few days ago when it was expected to be 38 feet. Flooding along the Red River is not unusual (lately it seems to happen every year), what is unusual this year is the fact that it is occurring in early May instead of late March or early April.

Generally, it takes two to three weeks after the flood waters recede before farmers can get back into the fields and that is if there is no additional rainfall, so it is uncertain at this point when the farmers will be able to start planting corn in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. The weekly crop report from North Dakota on Monday estimated that the average start date for field work in the state would be May 3rd, but that is the average for the entire state. It certainly will be later than that in eastern North Dakota where the bulk of the corn and soybeans are planted.