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Dust is flyin': Spring planting in catch-up mode

Agriculture.com Staff 05/19/2008 @ 2:22pm

Drier weather conditions allowed more farmers to get the tires turning and get some planting and spring fieldwork done in the past week. Planting progress jumped by over 20% in the last week, according to Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report.

As of Sunday, 73% of the nation's corn crop has been planted. Though it's still down 15% from the average 88% progress level for this week, the gap between the two figures has narrowed. Last week, corn planting was just over halfway completed.

Big-time progress was made in states where progress was lagging the most: In Iowa, after showing 46% of the state's corn was planted in last week's report, NASS numbers show 78% of the state's corn in the ground as of Sunday. Missouri farmers made a 21% jump in planting completed, while similar or greater progress is noted in Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Kansas and Colorado.

Corn emergence, on the other hand, tells a different story. Emergence is way behind the normal 56% pace for this week at 26%. While up from last week's 11% emergence number, it's still off pace and has farmers wondering whether early-season cool, damp weather will have serious lingering effects.

"Some of the early emerging corn does not look the best. There have also been reports of corn germinating fine, but emerging poorly," says Gibbon, Nebraska, certified crop adviser (CCA) Robert Pesek. "Uneven stands are common. Most of the agronomists in the area are telling growers to be patient, the corn will be fine."

But, look south for hope that slow emergence will eventually catch up. Kosciusko, Mississippi, CCA Ernie Flint, with Mississippi State University Extension, says early corn growth and soybean emergence are getting on track after earlier cool, wet conditions.

"In central Mississippi, we are finally emerging from the cold and wet conditions we have had since the beginning of our 'normal' planting season in March," Flint says. "Although mixed in age and variable in stand, our corn is beginning to grow well, and soybeans that are being planted are emerging well."

While Monday's report omitted soybean emergence numbers, it did show bean plantings are still well behind the average pace, but like corn, big strides were made in the last week. Overall, 27% of the crop is in the ground, still 20% behind average, but up 16% from the previous week.

Drier weather conditions allowed more farmers to get the tires turning and get some planting and spring fieldwork done in the past week. Planting progress jumped by over 20% in the last week, according to Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report.

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Weather Trumps Demand