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Corn Planting Progress Crawls Slowly Northward

Jeff Caldwell 04/08/2014 @ 3:45pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Corn planting is marching its way north, but once you head north of the Mason-Dixon Line, the progress quickly slows to a crawl.

State ag statistics service reports from this week -- issued despite a lack of federal-level reports from the National Agricultural Statistics Service -- show a range of planting progress levels from the Delta region to the states adjoining the southern Corn Belt, with major progress reported down South and baby steps farther north.

Planting in primary corn-growing states is moving along quickest in Texas and Mississippi, where farmers have 54% and 41% of the crop planted, according to those states' Crop Progress reports rolled out Monday. In the former state, officials say planting is focused mostly in the south-central part of the state, while progress in the latter was stalled around the state by frequent rainfall up to 3 inches over the last week.

"Rains continue to put a damper on corn and soybean planting progress. Growers have been held to planting only one to two days per week due to frequent rainfall. Early planted corn has emerged and looks good. We really need a good stretch of dry weather to get planting season back on track in my area," Humphreys, Mississippi, farmer Preston Aust said this week, according to the Mississippi Ag Statistics Service report released Monday afternoon. The typical pace for corn planting in that state is 46% for this week, 5% ahead of this year's progress.

Just to the north, 25% of the Arkansas crop was planted as of Monday, but that's almost 20% behind the normal pace amidst wet, cooler-than-normal conditions, farmers say.

"Rains continue to put a damper on corn and soybean planting progress. Growers have been held to planting only one to two days per week due to frequent rainfall. Early planted corn has emerged and looks good. We really need a good stretch of dry weather to get planting season back on track in my area," Prairie, Arkansas, farmer Brent Griffin told that state's ag statistics service Monday. Adds Crittenden, Arkansas, farmer Russ Parker in the same report: "Very little planting activity due to rain and low soil temperatures."

Progress stalls quickly heading north from Arkansas and the rest of the mid- and deep South. Farmers in Tennessee have just 2% of that state's corn crop in the ground, 10% behind the normal pace. Though planting's been halted for the most part, there remains some fieldwork underway in that state, though, Weakley County, Arkansas, farmer Jeff Lannom tells the Arkansas Agricultural Statistics Service.

"Wet weather this week has caused corn planting to stop. Rainfall events occurred at the beginning and ending of the reporting period, allowing for few work days," he says. "Some producers were able to make herbicide applications to wheat, with burndown applications beginning to be made to fields that will be planted to corn. Some anhydrous ammonia was applied to corn land as well."

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