May 02, 2018

U.S. Corn Planting 17% Complete, about a week slower than Average

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

The weather improved day by day last week and farmers finally had a chance to go the field to start planting their 2018 crops. We took a tour through north-central Illinois on Saturday afternoon to see for ourselves how much field work was being done. The farmers were in the field full-blast working ground, putting on fertilizer, planting corn, and spraying. They were kicking up clouds of dust and I did not see any place where it looked too wet for field work. Usually you see some standing water this time of the year, but we did not see any, at least not in north-central Illinois

The soil appeared to be in excellent condition and it looked like it was working up perfectly. It was nice and fine without any clods, which should make for a very good seed bed and good germination. The temperatures were frosty Sunday morning, but they warmed up quickly and we are now in a very nice streak of warm temperatures with scattered thunderstorms forecasted for later this week.

As of Sunday, farmers have now planted 17% of their intended corn acreage compared to 32% last year and 27% for the 5-year average. Corn planting was fastest in Missouri at 52%, Illinois at 32%, Kansas at 27%, Iowa at 17%, and Nebraska at 17%. The corn planting is probably more advanced than 17% because planting is progressing as we write this.

Iowa had no corn planted last week, but this week they have 17% planted. Definitely the most delayed corn planting is the northwestern Corn Belt where no corn had been planted by Sunday in Minnesota (average is 26%), South Dakota (average is 13%), and North Dakota (average is 9%). I was a little surprised that no corn had been planted in those three states, but apparently cold soils kept farmers out of the field. The temperatures have subsequently warmed up and I am sure the planters are now rolling.

I would estimate that corn planting is approximately one week behind average in the central and eastern Corn Belt and 7-10 days behind in the northwestern Corn Belt. Even with some rain in the forecast, this should be a very big week for corn planting. If the weather does not turn excessively wet going forward, it is possible that the 2018 U.S. corn crop could end up being planted about a week or so later than average. That is somewhat of a concern, but the summer weather will be more important than a week delay in getting started.

U.S. farmers have planted 5% of their intended soybean acreage compared to 9% last year and 5% for the 5-year average. The most advanced soybean planting is in the southern areas such as Louisiana where 40% of the soybeans have been planted (average is 42%), Mississippi with 35% planted (average is 38%), and Arkansas with 26% planted (average is 24%).