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Article: USDA Crop Progress: Corn, soybean planting well ahead of average

06 May 2020

The below article is taken from our IEG Vu platform dated 04/05/20.

Open weather in many areas of the US Midwest has translated into farmers making fast work of their spring corn and soybean planting this year unlike the situation at this point in 2019.

US corn planting passes halfway

US corn planting in the 18 major states is at 51 percent as of May 3, according to USDA's Crop Progress update, well ahead of the average for 39 percent of the crop to be planted and another major move up from the prior week when 27 percent was in the ground. Traders expected corn planting to have hit 48 percent.

Iowa reported 78 percent is now planted (46 percent average) while Illinois is at 56 percent (54 percent average) and Indiana said that 33 percent is in the ground (26 percent average) and a sizable 76 percent of Minnesota's crop is planted (36 percent average). But not all states have been making big gains as North Dakota reported four percent planted (19 percent average), Ohio is at 10 percent (20 percent average) and Pennsylvania is at 1 percent (16 percent average).

Despite the rapid planting pace, emergence is just behind the average pace. For the 18 states, eight percent has emerged against 10 percent for the five-year average. But the fast pace of planting the past two weeks should mean the emergence will soon start to show increases over the next two to three weeks.

Soybean plantings also ahead of average

Soybean planting in the 18 major states reached 23 percent as of May 3, up from 8 percent the prior week and ahead over the five-year average of 11 percent. Traders expected farmers would have 21 perdcent States showing the biggest corn planting gains are also ones showing the strongest pace of soybean planting. Illinois is at 31 percent (12 percent average), Indiana is at 22 percent (nine percent average), Iowa is at 46 percent (nine percent average), Minnesota is at 35 percent (10 percent average) and Nebraska is 32 percent planted (10 percent average). While there are states where planting progress is slow, the optimal planting window for soybeans stays open much longer so the are not many concerns at this stage.

Winter wheat ratings tick up

The level of winter wheat rated good/excellent edged up to 55 percent from 54 percent the prior week. Traders expected the rating to tick down to 53 percent good/excellent. Even though the ratings improved slightly, it still stands well below year ago when 64 percent earned the top marks.

The move up in ratings was the result of a decrease in the level of the crop rated poor - 10 percent this week versus 11 percent the prior week. This moved the combined poor/very poor rating to 14 percent after it was at 15 percent the prior week.

As for development toward maturity, USDA reported that 32 percent is now headed, up from 21 percent the prior week, but still behind the five-year average of 38 percent. Key Kansas reported that 17 percent is now headed, well behind the 34 percent average.

Spring wheat planting continues slow

US spring wheat is at 29 percent planted in the six major states, up from 14 percent the prior week, but well shy of the five-year average of 43 percent. Key states pulling the progress down are North Dakota (15 percent vs 33 percent average), Minnesota (21 percent vs 45 percent average) and Montana (33 percent vs 44 percent average).

The slower planting pace also means that emergence is running slower - six percent versus an average of 16 percent.

Other highlights:

Cotton planting is near the average pace at 18 percent (17 percent average), with Texas at 21 percent (15 percent average).

Sorghum planting is at 22 percent vs the average pace of 26 percent.

Only 49 percent of rice is planted, ahead of year ago when 45 percent was planted, but behind the average of 64 percent.

Some areas of the Midwest are expected to see rains in the early part of this week which will potentially slow planting gains. But with so many states running well ahead of their average pace, it will not cause much concern.

The winter wheat situation will continue to be watched as traders are still trying to assess freeze damage that took place in April. And, this year will not see the annual HRW Wheat Tour take place due to COVID-19, so traders will have to rely on social media reports from farmers or scattered private tours as opposed to annual trek through Kansas and areas of surrounding states.

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