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'Big rains' to hinder planting catch-up

05/24/2011 @ 7:53am

The national corn planting progress figure of 79 percent done as of May 22 matched my own expectation and means that we have a significant amount of corn left to plant at a very late date on the calendar. Maybe we should look on the bright side of things. After all, in 2009 we had just 76 percent of the Nation's corn crop in the ground by May 22, and we were still able to establish a new national corn yield record that same year. However, it should be noted that the final week of May in 2009 was favorable for corn planting, as we had 93 percent of the crop in the ground that year by May 31.

Big rains this week across the Midwest means that we will not see similar circumstances this time around. I would estimated that only 84 to 88 percent of this year's corn crop will be planted for the week ending May 29, and with that figure I am assuming about 80 percent of the crop in Ohio and about 40 percent in Indiana and Pennsylvania will still be left to plant (with significant amounts also to plant in Michigan, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas as well).

That is acreage that will not see a planter this year until June, and if I am correct it will be the first time since 1996 that more than ten percent of the Nation's corn crop will be planted on or after June 1. It does still look like conditions will be more favorable for fieldwork operations in the Midwest as we turn the calendar to June, as the pattern is looking much warmer and much drier for the Midwest (especially the south and the east) once we get by the first half of this coming weekend.

Where all of the rain will be in the 6-10 day time frame will be for the far northwestern Corn Belt, the northern Plains, and the Canadian prairies...which is not good news either. I've already mentioned that there will still be corn to plant in the Dakotas on June 1, but note that we only had 56 percent of the spring wheat crop planted as of May 22nd...second slowest pace since at least 1986.

Farmers on the Canadian prairies, especially the east, have also had a lot of difficulty in getting their crops planted. A lot of acreage in those areas is going to be seeded in June this year as well, if it is seeded at all.

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