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Corn and soybean plantings move closer to completion.

Ben Potter, Senior editor

May 22, 2023

2 Min Read
Blue tractor and planter planting corn
Getty Images

Corn and soybean plantings continue to progress more swiftly than they have in recent years, per the latest crop progress report from USDA, out Monday afternoon and covering the week through May 21. More than four out of every five intended corn acres have now been planted, and two-thirds of the 2023 soybean crop is now in the ground. And winter wheat quality ratings improved more than analysts were expecting last week.

Corn plantings are now at 81% through Sunday, up from the prior week’s tally of 65%. Analysts were expecting to see a bit more progress, offering an average trade guess of 82% prior to today’s report. Still, this season’s start is significantly faster than 2022’s pace of 69% and the prior five-year average of 75%. Of the top 18 production states, only North Dakota (32%) has yet to reach the halfway mark.

More than half (52%) of the crop is now emerged, up from 30% a week ago. That’s also ahead of 2022’s pace of 35% and the prior five-year average of 45%.

Soybean plantings are now 66% complete, up from 49% a week ago and mirroring analyst expectations. Total progress is far ahead of 2022’s pace of 47% and the prior five-year average of 52%. State-by-state progress ranges between 20% in North Dakota up to 85% in Illinois. And 36% of the crop is now emerged, up from 20% a week ago and 12 points above the prior five-year average of 24%.

Other regional crops continued to make planting progress last week, including:

  • Cotton – 45% (up from 35% last week)

  • Sorghum – 33% (up from 28% last week)

  • Rice – 90% (up from 83% last week)

  • Peanuts – 55% (up from 37% last week)

  • Sugarbeets – 95% (up from 79% last week)

Winter wheat quality ratings saw a two-point increase, with 31% of the crop now in good-to-excellent condition. Analysts were expecting a one-point increase. Another 29% of the crop is rated fair (down one point from last week), with the remaining 40% rated poor or very poor (also down one point from last week).

Physiologically, 61% of the crop is now headed, up from 49% last week and mirroring both 2022’s pace as well as the prior five-year average.

Spring wheat plantings are now 64% complete as of Sunday, versus week-ago progress of 40%. That puts 2023’s pace well ahead of last year’s trend of 48% but still moderately behind the prior five-year average of 73%.

Click here to read more highlights from the latest UDSA crop progress report.

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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