The latest USDA crop progress report, covering the week ending April 19, showed a little forward momentum for corn and soybean plantings as the weather turns agreeable in more and more fields.
Corn progress reached 7%, which was in line with analyst expectations and up from 3% a week ago. Progress so far is ahead of 2019’s historically wet spring, when 5% of the crop had been planted by this time. However, this year’s pace is slightly behind the five-year average of 9%.
There’s obviously still plenty of fieldwork yet to be done, with only 13 of the top 18 production states reporting any level of progress so far. Leading the way to-date are southern States that include Texas (64%), North Carolina (49%), Kentucky (25%) and Tennessee (23%).
This was the first week that USDA reported on soybean planting progress, with the agency showing 2% of the crop is now in the ground. That was in line with analyst expectations, and slightly ahead of last year’s pace of 1%. The prior five-year average is also 1%.
Only eight of the top 18 production states have measurable progress listed so far. As with corn, southern states including Louisiana (24%), Mississippi (21%) and Kentucky (9%) are leading the charge so far.
USDA’s spring wheat planting analysis differed somewhat from trade guesses. The agency shows 7% of the crop now planted, versus an average analyst estimate of 11%. Planting pace remains ahead of last year’s tally of 4% but well behind the prior five-year average of 18%. Of the top 6 production states, Washington (78%) and Idaho (54%) are the furthest along for now.
The 2019/20 winter wheat crop has made some physiological strides last week, with 14% of the crop now headed. That’s up from 8% a week ago and just behind the prior five-year average of 15%.
From a quality standpoint, winter wheat suffered a moderate setback, presumably on some freeze damage this past week. Analysts expected USDA to dock the crop a point to 61% in good-to-excellent condition, but the agency instead lowered its quality ratings by five points, falling to 57% in good-to-excellent condition. Another 30% of the crop is rated fair (up two points from last week), with the remaining 13% rated poor or very poor (up three points from a week ago).
Click here to read the latest USDA crop progress report in its entirety.