As expected, improved forecasts last week allowed many more planters to roll across the Midwest and Plains last week, giving farmers a chance to finally make significant headway in a season that started off sluggishly due to overly wet conditions earlier this spring. Corn plantings are now close to the halfway mark, while 30% of soybean acres are now in the ground, per the latest USDA crop progress report that was released Monday afternoon and covers the week through May 15.
Corn plantings reached 49% completion through Sunday, jumping from 22% a week ago and matching analyst expectations. Despite the impressive effort, this year’s pace is still well behind 2021’s mark of 78% and the prior five-year average of 67%. Of the top 18 production states, Texas (87%) is the furthest along, while North Dakota (4%) stands alone as the only state yet to make double-digit progress.
Corn emergence reached 14%, up from 5% a week ago. That’s much slower than 2021’s pace of 38% and the prior five-year average of 32%.
Soybean plantings progressed a bit more quickly than expected last week, moving from 12% a week ago to 30% through Sunday. Analysts had offered an average trade guess of 29% prior to today’s report. This year’s pace is still significantly lower than 58% in 2021 and the prior five-year average of 39%. Southern states Louisiana (89%) and Mississippi (80%) continue to lead the way among the top 18 production states. It’s also worth noting that Minnesota’s pace is generally much swifter. The prior five-year average there is 47%, but only 11% of the North Star State’s acres are currently in the ground.
Soybean emergence reached 9% through Sunday, up from 3% a week ago. Last year’s pace was 19%, and the prior five-year average is 12%.
Spring wheat plantings improved to 39%, up from 27% a week ago. Analysts missed the mark by four points, with an average trade guess of 43%. Last year’s pace was 83%, and the prior five-year average was 67%. Minnesota and North Dakota, in particular, are trending well below their historical averages after dealing with late snows followed by heavy rains earlier this spring. Nationwide, 16% of the crop is emerged.
Winter wheat quality ratings took a turn for the worse. Analysts hoped to see a one-point improvement, but USDA docked the crop another two points, with just 27% now rated in good-to-excellent condition. Another 32% is rated fair (steady from a week ago), with the remaining 41% rated poor or very poor (up two points from last week).
Physiologically, 48% of the crop is now headed, which puts it moderately behind 2021’s pace of 51% and the prior five-year average of 53%.
Click here to learn more about today’s USDA crop progress report, including the agency’s observations on days suitable for fieldwork and topsoil moisture conditions.