Planting progress slowing down

Farm Forum

5/23/16 — Up to this point in the season, planting progress was mostly well ahead of normal for small grains, corn, soybeans, and oats planting. But recently that progress has slowed down, especially for corn.

Crop progress numbers were out yesterday afternoon, with corn planting reported at 86% complete, just 1% ahead of the average of 85%. States like Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and a few others are lagging in progress, and there could be significant switching of acreage from corn to soybeans in these states as it gets later. Corn is 60% emerged now vs. 55% normally. Soybeans are 56% planted vs. 52% normally, with 22% emerged vs. 21% normally.

Cotton is 46% planted vs. 54% normally, so there we are behind normal progress levels. Sorghum also is only 37% planted vs. 43% normally so the south is struggling with a little wetter soils than the north. Sunflowers in northern and western states are 27% planted vs. 13% normally, with North Dakota and South Dakota ahead of normal but Kansas and Colorado behind normal progress.

HRS wheat is 95% planted vs. 77% normally, with 78% emerged vs. 51% normally. HRS wheat conditions are rated 76% G/E, up a bit from 69% G/E rating last year. Barley is 94% planted vs. 81% normally, with 80% emerged vs. 56% normally. Conditions of barley are rated 76% G/E, up 1% from last week and above last year’s 74% rating. Oats nationally is 98% planted vs. 90% normally, with emergence at 90% vs. 76% normally and 25% headed vs. 29% normally, so oats is ahead of normal planting progress like the other small grains. Oats are rated 73% G/E, the same as last week but up from 70% last year. Pasture conditions are 64% G/E, up 1% from last week and vs. 60% last year at this time.

Topsoil moisture levels are rated 85% adequate/surplus, down 1% from last week but still above last year’s 84% rating. Subsoil ratings are 85% adequate/surplus, down 1% as well from last week but compared to 81% last year at this time. Winter wheat is 75% headed vs. 66% normally, with crop ratings unchanged from last week at 62% rated G/E, up quite a bit from last year’s 45% rating. The Pro Ag yield model continued its march higher this week, rising to 49.65 bu/acre (up 0.19 bu/acre last week). That is well above the previous record of 47.8 bu/acre achieved in 1999 (the same yield currently estimated by USDA in the May report).

Weather forecasts the next 7 days include wet and warm weather for most of the Corn Belt. Today’s 8-14 day run also looks much wetter for the Corn Belt, especially the northern half of the Corn Belt. That is combined with what looks like above average temperatures as well, and that could get things growing rather aggressively given a warm and wet forecast. That might be good for the crop that is already planted, but it could be bad for the crop areas that are still too wet for significant planting progress to occur. That could delay planting even more if it falls in the states already delayed somewhat.

So far this week the grain market has taken a decidedly bearish attitude, with prices lower Monday. Some of that negativity could be attributed to the cattle on feed report out Friday. The cattle on feed report was bearish Friday, and pressured cattle somewhat especially due to the placements number of 107% when they were expecting only 98.5%. On feed was slightly negative at 101% vs. expectations of 100%, and marketings were 101% vs. 101.5% expected.

The marketing season goes on, though, with planting progress slowing somewhat and crops developing, but at a slower pace than we started the season. What impact this may have on yields by harvest is yet to be seen. But final yields, and ultimately how the acreage ends up being planted (compared to March intentions) will have an impact on final prices for 2016/17.