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USDA crop progress: Corn planting reaches 7%

Soybean progress now 2% complete.

Ben Potter, Senior editor

April 20, 2020

2 Min Read

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.

About the Author(s)

Ben Potter

Senior editor, Farm Futures

Senior Editor Ben Potter brings two decades of professional agricultural communications and journalism experience to Farm Futures. He began working in the industry in the highly specific world of southern row crop production. Since that time, he has expanded his knowledge to cover a broad range of topics relevant to agriculture, including agronomy, machinery, technology, business, marketing, politics and weather. He has won several writing awards from the American Agricultural Editors Association, most recently on two features about drones and farmers who operate distilleries as a side business. Ben is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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