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USDA crop progress: Corn planting reaches two-thirds completion

Soybean progress also makes significant inroads this past week.

Ben Potter, Senior editor

May 11, 2020

3 Min Read
Willie Vogt

Farmers remained busy planting corn and soybeans this past week, as was confirmed by the latest USDA crop progress report, covering activity through May 10. More than 6 of every 10 U.S. corn acres are now in the ground, according to the agency, with soybean progress jumping to nearly 40%.

Corn planting progress is now at 67%, up from 51% a week ago and still well above the prior five-year average of 56%. Still, analysts were expecting an even more aggressive planting pace, with an average trade guess of 71%.

Some of the largest corn production states are well ahead of the national average, meantime. Iowa has reached 91% completion, for example, with Minnesota at 89%. On the low end of the spectrum, two states have failed to get out of the single digits, including North Dakota (7%) and Pennsylvania (5%). Nearly every state is ahead of 2019’s dismal pace, which saw only 28% national progress by the second week of May.

Corn emergence moved from 8% a week ago up to 24%. That far exceeded last year’s pace of 9% and is just above the prior five-year average of 22%. Southern states, including North Carolina (72%) and Texas (70%) continue to lead the way for this crop stage.

Soybean planting progress also made significant headway this past week, moving from 23% to 38% -- putting it far ahead of 2019’s pace of 8% and the prior five-year average of 23%. Analysts were expecting an even bigger jump to 41%. Of the top 18 production states, Iowa (71%) leapfrogged to the No. 1 spot after passing southern states Louisiana (68%) and Mississippi (51%). Only one state – North Dakota (4%) is still in the single digits at this time.

Soybean emergence is also ahead of recent years after reaching 7% this week. That’s well ahead of 2019’s pace of 1% and the prior five-year average of 4%. Louisiana (46%) and Mississippi (29%) have the biggest percentage of their crops emerged so far.

This year’s spring wheat crop is now 42% planted, up from 29% a week ago. It’s also an improvement from 2019’s pace of 38% but still well behind the prior five-year average of 63%. And 16% of the crop is emerged, up from 6% last week and moderately trailing the prior five-year average of 29%.

The 2019/20 winter wheat crop is also physiologically a bit behind the pace of recent years. Forty-four percent of the crop is now headed, which is better than 2019’s pace of 38% but still below the prior five-year average of 50%.

Winter wheat crop quality suffered another drop this past week, moving from 55% in good-to-excellent condition down to 53%. Analysts thought the USDA would dock crop quality by a point. Another 31% of the crop is rated fair (unchanged from last week), with the remaining 16% rated poor or very poor (up two points from last week).

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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