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Corn Planting at 92%, Soybeans at 61% as Midwest Weather Sours

There's roughly 6 or 7 million acres yet to plant around the U.S. remaining as of the beginning of this week, though those acres may not get knocked out anytime too soon.

Monday's weekly USDA-NASS Crop Progress report shows 92% of the nation's corn crop is in the ground, up 7% from the previous week and still ahead of the normal pace by 5%. Emergence had a huge week, with 74% of that crop out of the ground, up from 56% a week ago, Monday's report shows. Emergence now sits 12% ahead of the normal pace for this week of the year.

Heading into Tuesday's report -- delayed a day by the Memorial Day holiday on Monday -- trade expectations were around 90% completion for corn planting. Tuesday's report also is the first of the year to show corn conditions, which fell slightly below the average trade estimate. Seventy-four percent of the crop is in either good or excellent condition, and the trade anticipated 75% to 78% to rate that high.

Farmers made bigger soybean-planting strides in the last week; as of Sunday, 61% of that crop is planted, up from 45% a week ago and 6% ahead of the previous average pace. Emergence is moving right along for that crop, too, with 32% poked through, 7% ahead of normal and up almost 20% in the last week.

Though corn and soybean planting and early development remains ahead of the normal pace, it's slowing considerably. After planting raced out of the starting gate earlier this month, the gap between "normal" and this year has narrowed as the weather has turned wetter, keeping planters from running. Though those damp conditions are good for early crop development, some farmers now see delays that may be insurmountable for the remainder of this year's crop.

"A lot of acres here looking under the weather in south-central Nebraska. Way too much cloudy, drizzly weather. Starting to see chemical damage in corn from not being able to metabolize the chemicals. A lot of the corn has bad color. Some beans have been in the ground for almost 2 weeks and haven't emerged yet," WCMO says. "Things don't look as rosy as the CME wants me to believe it is!"

Though the corn planting pace number is higher than the trade had pegged heading into Tuesday's report, the data's likely going to be slightly bullish corn heading into the overnight trading session, while neutral for soybeans and slightly negative for wheat prices, according to Kluis Commodities market analyst and grain broker Al Kluis. Winter wheat conditions remained unchanged from the previous week in Tuesday's report, with 45% of the nation's crop in good or excellent condition as 77% has headed out. Though the data show a stable crop on paper, concerns are growing as heavy rain continues to fall in the central and southern Plains and diseases, namely stripe and leaf rust, become more widespread.

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