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Corn planting nears its end -- USDA

Jeff Caldwell 05/14/2012 @ 3:24pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Just shy of 90% of the nation's corn crop is planted, and farmers in all but a couple of states are well on their way to an early wrap to planting season, Monday's USDA-NASS weekly Crop Progress report shows.

In all, 87% of the nation's corn is planted and 46% of the soybeans are in the ground, Monday's report shows. Both figures are well ahead of the normal pace. Last year at this point, 17% of the nation's soybeans were planted and farmers had just 56% of the corn crop in the ground, USDA shows.

Emergence for both crops is moving along at just as swift a pace as planting; more than half of the corn (56%) planted has emerged, 40% ahead of last year's emergence pace. And, 16% of the soybean crop is up versus 3% a year ago.

Fieldwork continues to run well ahead of normal on nearly ideal planting weather. But, that could be changing with a return to drier-than-normal conditions that could put a damper on crops that may find themselves quickly short on moisture during a tiem of critical early-season growth, according to Craig Solberg, ag meteorologist with Freese-Notis Weather, Inc., in Des Moines, Iowa.

"Mild, sunny, dry weather has helped to dry many wet fields across the midwest this past week. It looks like much of this week will be favorable for field activities," Solberg said Monday. "The 6- to 10-day forecast and 11- to 15-day forecast taking us to the end of May calls for warm weather with less than normal rainfall for both the western and eastern Corn Belt states."

Even though those dry conditions aren't the best for young, emerging plants, it will definitely help continue the planting pace. And, that could keep the pressure on the corn and soybean markets in the next couple of weeks, says Ray Jenkins, senior grain merchandiser for Cargill in Eddyville, Iowa.

"Since we were already 2/3 done last week, I did not think we would add another 25%+ this fast. But we did and also planted 32% of the soybean crop last week, too. Expect corn to be done and soybeans to be at something above 80% next week," Jenkins said Monday. "With the U.S. corn number at 87%, I would expect to see some pressure on new crop corn futures tonight."

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