USDA crop progress: Corn plantings nearly reach the halfway mark

Getty/iStockphoto John Deere corn planter planting field in Minnesota
Three of every 10 soybean acres are also in the ground through May 15

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.

TAGS: Planting Crops
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