Minimal changes to U.S. oats supply-and-demand factors are made this month. Based on the pace of exports as indicated by U.S. Census Bureau data, the oats export figure is raised slightly from 1.0 million bushels to 1.2 million for 2012-2013.

Oats imports for 2012-2013 are raised 3 million bushels and ending stocks for the same crop year are boosted 2.8 million bushels after accounting for the slight increase in exports. Beginning stocks for 2013-2014 are correspondingly increased by 2.8 million bushels and, at this time, the ending stocks increase serves to bolster carryout by a similar amount.

In North Dakota and Minnesota, where oats are commonly grown for grain as opposed to forage needs, producers were able to get the majority (57 percent) of the oats crop seeded by May 5; however, this pace was fully 36 points behind the 2012 pace and lagged 19 points behind the 5-year average.

Weather conditions in major oats-producing areas improved toward the end of the month, and the national planting pace edged closer to normal as 94 percent of the crop had been sown by June 2 according to the USDA-NASS Planting Progress report. In the week that followed, weather and soil moisture conditions in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin facilitated additional sowing and served to boost the planted percentage 2 points over the week previous to 96 percent.

Oats emergence is slightly behind the 5-year pace with 92 percent of the crop having emerged compared to 100 percent in 2012 and 96 percent over the last 5 years. Approximately 34 percent of the crop has reached the heading stage, compared with the 5-year average of 42 percent.

Nationally, 56 percent of the oats crop is rated as good to excellent and 13 percent very poor or poor compared with 73 percent good to excellent in 2012 and 5 percent very poor or poor in the same year. Improvements in weather and soil moisture conditions may serve to enhance the overall health of the crop and help producers get the last of their oats crop seeded.