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USDA: Corn planting way ahead of schedule

Agriculture.com Staff 04/26/2010 @ 2:38pm

Corn farmers are running way ahead of schedule. Half of the nation's 2010 crop is in the ground.

Another week of mostly dry, warm weather in the Corn Belt saw farmers make huge steps toward completing their corn planting, with 50% of the crop in the ground as of Sunday, according to Monday's USDA Crop Progress report. In the last 5 years, only 22% of the crop's planted by this week. Last year, 20% was planted by April 25.

And, though farmers made huge strides in the week leading up to April 18, the week leading up to Sunday, the 25th, saw even greater progress, just over 30% in a week.

In some areas, 50% planting completion is a distant memory: "My guess is that 95% of the corn is planted around here," says Agriculture.com Crop Talk member red hunter of his area of southern Minnesota. "Some soybeans in the ground, also."

He's just one of 400+ farmers responding to a recent AgPoll who say they're ahead of schedule with corn planting thus far. Fifty-three percent say they're ahead of the normal pace, while 26% say they're right on schedule.

Moving forward, look for the rain that fell over the weekend in much of the nation's midsection to keep fieldwork and planting mostly at a standstill through much of this week, until another batch of moisture moves into the area later this week, according to ag meteorologist Charlie Notis of Des Moines, Iowa-based Freese-Notis Weather, Inc. But, even with the rain delay, most farmers should remain ahead of schedule until at least the first week of May.

"With planting conditions for the first half of last week about as good as they have ever been for the middle of April, and with a well-advertised rainfall event looming for the end of last week, it is our belief that farmers really 'pushed' things last week when it came to planting corn," Notis says. "Not until May 6 does the five-year average corn planting pace reach the 52% mark, so looking at it that way, you could say that planting this year is 11 days ahead of schedule. Certainly it is not hard to find reports of soybeans already in the ground in the Corn Belt as well."

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Corn farmers are running way ahead of schedule. Half of the nation's 2010 crop is in the ground.

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