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The catch-up game is on

If the planters keep on rolling at this pace, farmers may catch up to the normal corn-planting pace in the next few days.

Sixty-three percent of the nation's crop is in the field, a 23% gain in the last week, according to Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report. That's just 12% off the normal pace, an almost monumental closing of the planting discrepancy gap considering the sluggish, rain-delayed progress just a couple of weeks ago.

The largest planting progress boosts came in the Corn Belt and mid-South; Iowa went from 69% to 92% complete in the last week, while farmers in Illinois, Nebraska, Tennessee and other states in the region saw 20%-plus planting gains.


Similar strides were made in soybeans; 22% of that crop's in the ground as of Sunday, up from 7% a week ago. That's just 8% off the normal pace. Iowa and Nebraska are the leading states in getting their bean crops in the ground in the Corn Belt, at 47% and 40% complete, respectively. Louisiana farmers have 67% of their soybean crops planted to lead the nation this week.


"After a 20-day break due to the rain, we have been on a extremely good run for the last 10 days. It has allowed us to finish up with corn planting and get a good start on soybean planting," says Mount Pulaski, Illinois, farmer Doug Martin. "With all of the warm weather, a lot of the corn we have been planting has been emerging in about 6 days. This is amazing because it is not going to be that far behind the early April planted corn that took 3-4 weeks to come up."

It's not that way everywhere, though. Marketing Talk member Blacksandfarmer, who farms in Ohio -- where corn planting only moved from 2% to 7% complete over the last week, USDA says -- says his area may not even see much of a corn crop planted this spring if the soggy conditions there continue.

"It has been a fight to the finish. Most guys are still about 2 weeks behind and in my area we are farming sandier soils," he says. "South of my location, in clay country, I can't see corn planting ever getting finished. With all the rain we are having, Ohio will be a state full of soybeans. We will never plant 92 million acres of corn this year!"

It's created a "Tale of Two Cities" this year, with some farmers already done planting while others remain in wait-and-see mode until things dry out, adds Marketing Talk member sonoma72.

"It's the bin busters and the goose eggs. The areas that went in, in good time, are probably going to be exceptional. This year, if any year, is the one to shoot the moon on inputs," he says. "Speaking personally, we had the best planting conditions ever -- finished beans a week ago; they are already coming up. I don't know, but I would guess that things won't be as bad as everyone thinks come fall."


What's the delay cost?

Take today's corn prices and throw them together with the number of acres still left out there to plant and you can see just how much the delay is worth to farm country. WeatherBill, a weather forecasting and protection management company, recently compiled data that indicates up to $5.8 billion in crop revenue could be lost because of the wet, cool weather conditions in much of the Midwest.


"If these top-producing corn states continue to experience excessive early season rainfall, losses could more than double if past seasons are any indication," according to a report from WeatherBill and director of agronomic research Jeff Hamlin. "The states that have been the hardest hit by wet weather this season represent more than 60% of the nation's corn-growing acreage. According to data collected by state climatology offices, the top 5 states that have been impacted so far this season are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin."

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