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Soybean planters in the homestretch -- USDA

Corn planting progress is no longer the top item in USDA's weekly Crop Progress report, meaning that job's off the to-do list for U.S. farmers, according to Monday's version of the report.

Only 15% of the nation's soybeans remain to be planted, too, according to Monday's USDA-NASS report, down 6% from the average pace and 13% behind progress a year ago. Regarding the Corn Belt, farmers in Iowa are furthest behind, at 77% completion compared to the average pace of 96% by this week. Considering the way this year's gone for most farmers, that's an acceptable margin.

"It is good to see an improvement in the soybean planting, increasing by 17% to 77% planted," says Iowa agriculture secretary Bill Northey. "Hopefully, a significant portion of the beans yet to be planted will get in the ground this week since it's getting late in the season to plant soybeans."

Though USDA is no longer tallying corn planting, that doesn't necessarily mean it's a done deal; Northey says there's still corn to plant in his state, but of those acres farmers originally intended to plant to corn, only some will wind up seeing that happen.

"With only 94% of the corn planted, Iowa has approximately 800,000 acres that farmers had intended to plant to corn that are still not in the ground," he says. "At this late date it is likely that some of that 6% will not be planted, and that which is planted will see lower yields."

Now the focus shifts first to corn emergence, then to conditions in general. As of Sunday, 92% of the corn crop is out of the ground, just 5% off the normal pace, while 66% of the soybean crop has emerged, off 14% from the average clip. And 64% of both the corn crop and the soybean crop is in good or excellent shape, according to Monday's report.

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