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Corn planting inches to 5% -- USDA

Jeff Caldwell 04/29/2013 @ 3:44pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

The trade expected corn planting progress up to 11% by Monday, but the pace was a lot slower than those estimates entailed. The result: As of Sunday, 5% of the nation's corn is planted, up just 1% from last week and just shy of 10% of what it was a year ago, according to Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report.

On April 28, 2012, 49% of the crop was in the ground. But, planters got rolling early and swiftly; the previous five-year average for this week is 31%, though that number comprises progress levels from the mid-20s to lower-40s for key states like Iowa, Illinois, and Nebraska, where 2%, 1%, and 3% of the crop is now planted, respectively.

"Hard to believe that we went from a drought to this. Old-timers can tell you that we have been through this before. No way in hell that we put any seed in the ground with this forecast," says Agriculture.com Marketing Talk frequent contributor Wrestler.

Though agronomists agree there's still plenty of time to get the corn crop planted -- the optimal planting window is still open (or has yet to open in some spots) -- some farmers say they're already planning on adjusting what they'll plant simply because the weather forecast doesn't show much improvement in planting conditions.

"I didn't want to be the one left out when needing more soybean seed. Ordered some more today," says Marketing Talk senior contributor roarintiger1. Adds fellow senior contributor WCMO: "No change on corn varieties, just have some to return. Put in order for more beans on Friday."

Monday saw the corn market explode on the ongoing news of the slow corn planting pace. However, the trade likely won't eye reports like Monday's Crop Progress from USDA as closely as it has in the past.

"The planting progress report is certainly a benchmark as to where we are in getting this crop in the ground. But the market is going to react more to the weather forecasts. Last week, we saw warm weather take prices lower. This week, we are seeing cool, wet weather take prices higher. And a change in the forecast tomorrow would rob us of what we saw today," says Mike North, a market analyst with First Capital Ag. "We can plant 30% of the crop or more in a week. Because of our infrastructure, nobody is using the planting progress as a barometer for the markets. It's more about the daily weather forecasts."


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