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May 7, 2014

U.S. Corn Planting Remains Behind the Average Pace

As of Sunday 29% of the 2014 U.S. corn crop had been planted compared to 11% last year and 42% for the five-year average. The cold and wet weather last week only allowed the planting to progress 13% during the week, but the planting pace should greatly accelerate this week given the improved weather forecast. The corn emergence was 7% compared to 3% last year and 13% average. The soybeans are 5% planted compared to an average of 11%.

Of the 18 major corn producing states, 5 are ahead of average on corn planting and 13 are behind average. The furthest ahead of average are in Missouri (+12%) and Kansas (+6%) and the furthest behind average are Minnesota (-38%), Iowa (-27%), Ohio (-23%), Wisconsin (-21%), Michigan (-20%), and North Dakota (-19%).

If farmers make as much progress as expected this week, the corn could be 50% planted by next Monday. I am not overly concerned about the delayed corn planting in the central Corn Belt because now that the calendar has turned to May, all the farmers in the central Corn Belt will plant their corn as quickly as possible as soon as the conditions are dry enough to get in the fields. Even if the soil temperature remains a little cool, they will plant anyhow knowing that the soil temperatures will now warm up quickly.

The soil temperatures in will warm quickly with the higher sun angle (64.5 degrees above the horizon at noon in Chicago on May 5th) in addition to the warmer southerly winds expected this week. The highest angle sun will occur on June 21st when it will be 71.6 degrees above the horizon at noon in Chicago.

While I am not too concerned about the central Corn Belt, I am concerned about the continuing delays in the northwestern Corn Belt where the soil temperatures are still very cool. The state report from North Dakota indicated that field work began May 4th, but mostly in the southern counties.

Zero percent of the anticipated corn has been planted in North Dakota compared to an average of 19%. There are reports of farmers in the state switching their corn to earlier maturing hybrids due to the late start. It is entirely possible that they may eventually switch some of their intended corn and spring wheat acreage to soybeans if the situation does not improve quickly.