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May 7, 2019

Continued Slow Planting of U.S. Corn, 23% Planted vs. 46% Average

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

Farmers in the Midwest made limited progress last week in planting their spring crops. As of Sunday, the 2019 U.S. corn crop was 23% planted compared to 36% last year and 46% for the 5-year average. This represented an advance of 8% for the week. The corn emergence is 6% compared to 7% last week and 13% for the 5-year average.

Most of the corn planting last week occurred in the western and southwestern regions, which has been the trend for the last few weeks. Limited planting progress occurred in the eastern Corn Belt and very little corn was planted in the northwestern Corn Belt.

In the western Corn Belt, Iowa is 36% planted (average is 51%), Nebraska is 35% (average is 47%), and Kansas is 41% (average is 51%). In the eastern Corn Belt, Illinois is 10% planted (average is 66%), Indiana is 3% (average is 35%), and Ohio is 2% (average is 27%). The corn planting in the northwestern Corn Belt is even more delayed with Minnesota 6% planted (average is 42%), North Dakota is 3% (average is 23%), and South Dakota is 0% (average is 29%).

There have been some comparisons made between the corn planting this year with that of last year, but that comparison does not hold up. In 2018, the corn planting was 17% on April 29th (average was 27%), a week later on May 6th it was 39% (average was 44%), on May 13th it was 62% (average was 63%) and on May 20th it was 81% (average was 81%). At the start of May, the corn planting was about 10% behind average, but by May 20th, it was equal to the 5-year average. During the first three weeks of May in 2018, the corn planting advanced an average of about 20% per week.

So, last year the corn planting started slow, but it caught up quickly to the average by the third week of May. This year, it is starting slow and continues to be slow, at least for the time being. On April 28th, the corn planting was 12% behind average. On May 5th it was 23% behind average, and if the wet weather verifies for this week, it might be more than 25% behind average on May 12th. Corn planting certainly will not reach 50% by May 10th, it will probably be difficult to reach that level by May 15th.

The 2019 U.S. soybeans are 6% planted compared to 14% last year and 14% for the 5-year average. The spring wheat is 22% planted compared to 27% last year and 49% for the 5-year average.

Crop Acreage - The bottom line is that we will probably have less corn acres in the U.S. in 2019 than what was anticipated, we will probably have more soybean acres than what was anticipated, and the wild card will be the prevent plant acreage.

It is very hard to estimate acreage at this point, but I would estimate the 2019 U.S. corn acreage at 90-91 million acres at the most and it could easily end up lower than that (the 2018 U.S. corn acreage was 89.1 million acres). I would estimate the 2019 U.S. soybean acreage at 86-87 million acres and it could easily end up higher than that (the 2018 U.S. soybean acreage was 89.1 million acres).