Farmers across the U.S. nearly doubled the amount of corn planted in the last week, moving the marker up from 28% a week ago to 53% planted at the start of this week.  Both are ahead of the 12% last year and the 27% five year average for the current week.  Those are for the 18 states that produce 92% of the corn.  However, when Cornbelt states are identified, the average drops back to 48% planted because the loss of KY (86%), NC (89%), and TN (93%) are dropped out.  Nevertheless, progress toward a long growing season is still being made.

The USDA’s weekly crop progress report provides some amazing data on the progress of the 2012 planting season.  For example, OH farmers had planted only 1% of their corn crop by April 29 of 2011, but by that date this year, 57% of the corn had been planted.  While only 6% of it had emerged, it represents a significant change of crop potential and reduced psychological stress for farmers in OH.

IL farmers remain the Cornbelt leader with 79% of the corn planted, followed closely by 75% in MO.  IL is ahead of TX where 70% of the crop is planted.  However, weather has likely paused planting progress in TX, which only moved from 65% planted last week to 70% this week.  In IL the 79% planted compared to 59% last week.  And while only 34% of the IL corn has emerged, the TX crop will be typically earlier, since it is already at 53% emerged.  However that is behind the 62% emerged for TX at this time averaged over the past 5 years.

When planting progress is examined the nod goes to IA farmers who shifted into high gear in the past week and moved from 9% planted to 50% planted.  When considered with the amount of intended corn acres in IA this year that means IA farmers planted 5.986 million acres of corn in the past week.  Compared to neighboring IA, IL planted 20% of its intended corn acres, 37% for MN, 30% for NE, and 25% for MO and KS. 

Soybean planting, of course is well behind, but compared to the 5 year average is slightly ahead for the 18 states that produced 95% of the US soybean crop in 2011.  For the Cornbelt, only 8% of the soybean crop is planted, compared to 12% nationally.  Southern states have set the curve with 40-60% planted. 

Leading the Cornbelt is IN at 28%, followed by OH at 16% planted and IL at 13% planted.  During the past week, IN farmers planted 867,000 acres of beans.  While IN is more than one-quarter planted, that compares to no soybeans planted at this time last year, and only 4% for the five year average.

Looking at the wheat crop, 54% is headed on a national basis, which compares to 24% at this time over the past 5 years.  Some Cornbelt farmers may be cutting wheat before they finish planting row crops, when the maturity of the wheat is compared to planting progress.  For example 84% of the MO wheat crop is headed, yet only 8% of MO beans and 75% of MO corn had been planted.

The wheat crop is in better shape than it was a year ago.  This year 64% is good to excellent, with 26% of the crop in the fair category.  Last year at this time, 25% of the crop was also fair, but 21% was poor, and only 34% was in the good to excellent category.  Within the Cornbelt, IL reports 80% of its wheat is good to excellent.  That is closely trailed by IN at 75% good to excellent, and 68% for MO.

Continuation of good weather nationally and across the Cornbelt have fostered good planting conditions, but varying weather has either accelerated or retarded planting progress in the past week.  Soybean planting is underway in the Cornbelt, but is much more varied than corn, indicating some regions of sufficient moisture, and others with very dry soils that have caused planters to park.  Wheat conditions are much better this year than last, and headed wheat has move the calendar much closer to harvest than would normally be the case.

Source: FarmGate blog