Some states start lagging normal planting progress

Farm Forum

We are starting to see some problems emerging in the planting progress report, with some states starting to lag normal planting progress of corn and soybeans. This is not true for Northern Plains producers, as planting progress of HRS wheat, barley, sugarbeets, and sunflowers is all ahead of normal planting progress. In fact, the planting of Northern Plains crops is getting a boost this week, with dry weather (although cool) in much of the northern half of the U.S.

Crop progress out yesterday afternoon came in at 75% planted corn vs. 70% normally, with some states lagging well behind normal due to wet conditions (Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio). Corn is 43% emerged vs. 34% average. Soybean planting is 36% complete vs. 32% normally, with 10% emerged vs. 9% normally. In northern states, some of those emerged soybeans could have suffered freeze damage last week and may need to be replanted.

Cotton planting is 40% complete vs. 39% normally, with sorghum 33% planted vs. 36% normally. Sugarbeets in northern states are 97% planted vs. 74% normally, with sunflowers just getting started at 11% planted vs. 4% normally. HRS wheat is 89% planted vs. 64% normally, so that is well ahead of normal with 60% emerged vs. 36% normally. Barley is 90% planted vs. 71% normally, and 68% emerged vs. 42% normally with conditions rated 75% G/E vs. only 64% a year ago. Oats is similar with 94% planted vs. 83% normally, and 81% emerged vs. 66% normally with conditions rated 73% G/E vs. 72% last week and 73% last year.

Winter wheat is 68% headed vs. 56% normally, with 62% rated G/E this week (the same as last week) but well above last year’s 45% ratings. The Pro Ag yield model actually dipped a bit this week to 49.46 bu/acre, just a slight 0.03 bu/acre decline from last week. That is still above the current USDA yield estimate, so a lot depends on how the winter wheat finishes the year and fills kernels in recently headed grain.

Weather includes dry but cool weather in the northern half of the U.S., where an open window of planting opens up. However, the southern half of the U.S. will be wet and cool this next 7 days, but then the 8-14 day forecast warms up considerably in today’s weather runs. That warming, if combined with drier weather, could allow planting progress to surge forward.

But once planting is complete, attention will turn to the growing conditions of the crop, and how much rainfall comes in the months of June, July, and August. That can typically make or break a crop. So far, soil moisture ratings are still quite good with 86% of topsoil rated adequate/surplus as of Monday, May 16. That is compared to the previous week’s 86%, and last year’s 82% rating. Subsoil moisture levels are also highly rated at 86% rated adequate/surplus as well, the same as last week and higher than last year’s 78% rating. So soil moisture levels thus far in the season are still quite good.

With winter wheat crops rated quite high and the yield potential still pretty good, and corn/soybean crops so far getting planted mostly on time or a bit early, we still haven’t found the spark to ignite grains into a full blown uptrend, especially the corn and wheat markets. Soybeans have had a nice run higher, and some analysts believe soybeans have attracted more acres to be planted (since they are now profitable or at least break even for farmers). So we could see some minor switching of acreage from corn to soybeans, but that still doesn’t seem to have solved our problem of overproduction of corn potentially this year and underproduction of soybeans.

A lot of season is left, and a critical calculation yet is the yield projected for corn and soybeans. Right now, trend yields are assumed, but as is the case most years, whether that yield is above or below trend is the real market maker in the summer time!