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May 20, 2015

U.S. Planting Progress continues Ahead of Average

Corn - Even though it was a relatively wet week last week, farmers still made progress on their corn planting and 85% of the crop is now in the ground compared to an average of 75%. Corn emergence is now 56% compared to an average of 40%. Generally speaking, the corn planting and emergence nationwide is about a week ahead of average and maybe as much as two weeks ahead of average in states like Minnesota.

The corn crop has gotten off to a faster than average start, but the current cool and wet weather and the extended forecast which is calling for more cool and wet weather might cause the corn crop to start losing some of the advantages of the rapid planting pace. In a worst case scenario where the weather continues to be wetter than normal, there is the possibility that a few of the last remaining corn acres could be switched over to soybeans, but I think it is too early to say that for sure because the corn planting in Kentucky and Tennessee is ahead of average and corn planting in Missouri is equal to the average pace.

Soybeans - Farmers made progress on planting their soybeans and 45% of the crop is now planted compared to an average of 36%. Soybean planting is most advanced in the western Corn Belt (Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska) with 49% planted compared to an average of 35%. In the eastern Corn Belt (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan) the soybeans are 45% planted compared to an average of 35%. Soybean emergence is now 13% compared to the average of 12%.

For both crops, it now looks like the second half of May will not be as advantageous for planting as was the first half of the month. Additionally, cool temperatures especially in the northwestern Corn Belt are going to slow down the germination and emergence of the crops. It's always good to remember that the growing season starts when the crops emerge, not when it is planted.

Concerns about Dry Soils in NW Corn Belt fading for Now - One good thing about the recent wet weather is that the dry soils in the NW Corn Belt are being recharged. Several weeks ago, the topsoil in the state of South Dakota was over 70% short to very short, but as of last Sunday only 29% of the state's topsoil was rated short to very short. Improvements in soil moisture have also been recorded in North Dakota and Minnesota where the topsoil is now rated only 4% and 6% short to very short, respectively.

Rains and snow over the weekend continued to replenish the topsoil in the region with precipitation totals for the past seven days in the range of 1-2-3 inches. Not everyone has received the moisture they need to fully recharge the soil moisture, but the situation is improving and the concern over dry soils has been temporarily resolved at least for now.