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Corn planters make mammoth strides -- USDA

Up until Sunday, it had been quite a week for farmers with corn to plant. All of a sudden, farmers are now within a few percentage points of the normal planting pace, according to Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report.

A week ago, farmers had 28% of the crop planted; as of Sunday, that number exploded to 71%, with farmers in some key corn-growing states making almost unprecedented strides. A week ago, Illinois farmers had 17% of the crop in the ground and, as of Sunday, 74% is now planted. In Iowa, last week saw 15% of the crop in the ground and this week, 71% is now planted. All in all, progress ranges from 43% (Wisconsin) to 96% (North Carolina) planted, with Corn Belt states coming in mostly in the 60s and 70s.


For soybeans, the margin between the previous average pace and how much is in the ground as of Sunday is wider than it is for corn, but the last week was also a big one for soybean farmers. Twenty-four percent of that crop's in the ground, up from 6% last week, but well off last year's pace of 71% and the previous average of 42%, according to Monday's report.

Progress isn't consistent everywhere. While a lot of farmers say they're at or near the finish line for corn planting, others remain well off their normal pace. The prognosis runs the gamut this week.

"Here locally, we only had 3 good days of planting this past week -- Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday -- heavy rain Wednesday evening into Thursday stopped any hope of planting for a while," says Marketing Talk frequent contributor nwiafmr. "And rain again Saturday with more in the forecast for the next several days not looking good for any restart of planting. I do think about half of intended corn acres might be planted around here. Don't know of any soybean planting having started yet."

Adds senior contributor Blacksandfarmer: "I am all done with both corn and beans. I would say my area on the Michigan/Indiana line is somewhere near 90% complete on both corn and beans."

Now, adds senior contributor rawhide on his planting progress: "A big fat 0."

Market reaction 

Al Kluis, Kluis Publishing, says the fact that the U.S. Farmers planted 43% of the nation’s corn crop in one week is negative to the market.

“This report is negative for prices. Look for corn to start out 1 to 2 cents lower tonight. The soybean number will not impact prices.”

Meanwhile, Ken Smithmier, The Hightower Report agrees that this Crop Progress Report is negative for prices.

“The market reaction to this report should be negative for price direction. The progress of the last week has been historic and to see states like IL and IN now within reach of their 5 year average and other key states exceeding the 5 year average, a significant amount of risk premium will be withdrawn from the market. Would expect a test of $5 where moderate support may be found but the supportive factors in the new crop corn market are deteriorating quickly. The market will focus on  June/July weather from here on out.” 

But, a wild card remains; any bearish reaction could hinge on whether the rain delays prompted by a system of storms that barreled through the nation's center Sunday could offset any negativity the major planting strides might create, experts and farmers say.

Editor's Note: Mike McGinnis contributed to this report.


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