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Crop progress: Corn already almost halfway planted

Soybean plantings also push forward last week.

Ben Potter, Senior editor

May 8, 2023

2 Min Read
Farmer pouring corn seed into planter
Getty Images

USDA’s newest crop progress report, out Monday afternoon and covering the week through May 7, showed corn and soybean plantings getting completed a bit faster than analysts had anticipated. Both crops are progressing much faster than their historical averages as well. And winter wheat quality ratings continued to improve last week, although overall ratings are among the lowest on record.

Corn plantings moved from 26% completion last week up to 49% through May 7. That was a point above the average trade guess of 48%. It was also more than double 2022’s pace of 21% and seven points faster than the prior five-year average of 42%. All of the top 18 production states are finally making measurable progress, although two – North Dakota (1%) and Michigan (6%) – are still in the single digits.

And 12% of this season’s corn crop is now emerged, up from 6% a week ago and slightly ahead of the prior five-year average of 11%. Southern states Texas (67%) and North Carolina (65%) continue to lead the way for now.

Soybean plantings moved from 19% completion a week ago up to 35% through May 7. That was a point better than the average trade guess of 34%. It is also trending significantly above 2022’s pace of 11% and the prior five-year average of 21%. Progress among individual states varies widely, between 0% in North Dakota and 71% in Louisiana.

Nine percent of the 2023 soybean crop is now emerged. This is the first week that USDA is reporting on that physiological category. That puts this year’s pace well ahead of both 2022 (3%) and the prior five-year average (4%).

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

  • Cotton – 22% (up from 15% last week)

  • Sorghum – 24% (up from 21% last week)

  • Rice – 72% (up from 63% last week)

  • Peanuts – 17% (up from 8% last week)

  • Sugarbeets – 41% (up from 24% last week)

Winter wheat quality ratings improved by another point last week, with 29% of the crop now rated in good-to-excellent condition. Analysts were expecting to see a two-point bump, however. Another 27% of the crop is rated fair (down three points from last week), with the remaining 44% rated poor or very poor (up two points from last week).

Physiologically, 38% of the crop is now headed, up from 25% a week ago. It’s also moderately above last year’s pace of 32% and the prior five-year average of 35%.

Spring wheat plantings moved from 12% complete a week ago to 24% complete through Sunday. That was four points below the average trade guess of 28%. It was also two points behind 2022’s pace of 26% and noticeably below the prior five-year average of 38%.

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

Read more about:

Crop Progress

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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