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Planting pace among slowest in 25 years

04/26/2011 @ 8:20am

The national corn planting pace at 9 percent done as of April 24 was a tick slower than my own expectation but was four to five percentage points slower than most of the trade expected. The low number this week means that it is now a given that our corn planting pace this year as of May 1 will be among the three slowest ever (at least going back to 1985).

We are likely going to be seeing some corn get planted this week in Nebraska and Kansas, and maybe a few fields in parts of southern South Dakota and western Iowa will see a planter as well. For the rest of the Corn Belt though, it is just going to be too wet to get anything done. No more is that the case than in the Ohio Valley area, where inundating rains that in some places have been more than a foot have fallen and that same area is going to see another two to four inches of rain (or more) through a part of tomorrow.

 For next Monday's number, I think that the national corn planting pace will fall somewhere between 11 and 15 percent done. Since 1985, only two years have been slower; those years were 1993 (when farmers were 8 percent done with corn planting on May 1) and 1995 (when farmers were 11 percent done as of May 1).

How about some thoughts on where we will be for the week ending May 8? It now looks like a lot of the western Corn Belt will not be seeing much rain for late this week through about May 3 or even 4. However, it is also going to be turning exceptionally cold in that same area for May 1 to May 3 with highs on some days in that period not getting out of the 40s in some places.

 Clearly that is sub-optimal weather, both with regards to soil drying and seed germination. The water-logged eastern Corn Belt though is likely see additional substantial rain for the coming weekend. It looks like the bulk of the Midwest is then going to be turning wet again for the 11-15 day time frame.

Thus, I would still fully expect that the amount of corn planted during the week of May 1-8 will be well below what is normally seen in that week (which is obviously one of the biggest weeks of the year for fieldwork). I think that it is quite possible that the national planting pace would be 30 percent done or less as of May 8, which would keep this year among the three slowest ever since 1985 (in fact, even a pace of as high as 39 percent done would keep it in that category).

Week of April 25 Weather Video with Meteorologist, Craig Solberg >>

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