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Planting on the downhill slide: USDA

Jeff Caldwell 06/06/2011 @ 4:05pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Corn planting's nearing its end in much of the country, with farmers in even the wettest parts of the Midwest on the downhill slope.

Fifty-eight percent of the corn crop is in the ground in Ohio, which has been the biggest trouble spot for planting in the Corn Belt so far this spring. That's according to Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report, which shows that's almost a 30% jump in planting progress versus a week ago. On the other end of the spectrum, Kansas farmers have all their corn planted, USDA reports, while those in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska are all within less than a handful of percentage points of completion.

A lot of soybeans were planted last week, too. Sixty-eight percent of the nation's bean crop is planted as of Sunday, up 17% over a week ago. Farmers in Iowa and Nebraska are leading the pack in the Midwest, with 94% and 91% planted, respectively.

Nationwide, 79% of the corn crop has emerged, as have 44% of the soybeans, USDA said Monday.

It was a week of major planting progress in the areas that needed it most, farmers say. But, that doesn't mean the worries are over just yet, says Agriculture.com Marketing Talk member and Ohio farmer docharing.

"Lot of progress last week. Crops are in the ground, but very late planting has everyone worried about an early frost," he said Monday.

Now, as planting seems to be heading into the homestretch, there's a lot of speculation about Prevented Planting and whether or not farmers can justify not planting a crop to get the federal crop insurance guarantee on those acres where Mother Nature got in the way of planting in the usual window.

"We factored in prevent-plant corn versus late-planted and a possible short corn crop," docharing adds. "The numbers look better at planting late and a possible claim for yield loss with a high dollar bushel guarantee. The volatile market said stay in the game all year, so we planted corn."

Weather & markets looking ahead

The good planting conditions will last through about mid-week in most of the Corn Belt, when things will turn cooler and wetter for the next 6 to 10 days, says Freese-Notis Weather, Inc., meteorologist Craig Solberg.

"Much cooler weather will already be seen by Wednesday in the northern Plains and far northwestern Corn Belt, and much of the central and northern Corn Belt will be much cooler by Friday...while it stays hot in the southern Corn Belt," he said Monday. "What that means is quite a 'battle zone' of air masses across the Midwest for late this week and will mean rain starting Wednesday night and lasting through the end of the work-week. Six- to 10-day rainfall should remain above normal as well in the Midwest."

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