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Corn Planting Falls Below Trade Estimates -- USDA

Farmers got 10% of the nation's corn crop planted in the last week. That's not bad considering the cool, damp conditions up to this week, but it's still well off the normal pace, according to Monday's weekly USDA-NASS Crop Progress report.

So now 29% of the corn crop is planted, up from 19% last week but still behind the normal pace for planting completion by this week (42%), according to Monday's report. Farmers in the Corn Belt made progress ranging from 5% to 12%, and North Dakota remains the only state in the nation where farmers have yet to begin planting.

"Planting was slowed by the wet weather that affected much of the state for several days last week, but 23% of the corn crop has now been planted,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said of his state Monday. “Farmers will look to make significant progress on corn, and some will likely start planting beans if we do get several days with warm dry weather as forecast.”

That 29% figure for corn planting is well behind what the trade expected; projections earlier in the day were hovering in the lower 30s, but weather experts also saw a likely move to around 29% based on previous years' progress and taking into account this year's weather.

"The normal weekly increase in planting through May 5 is 16%, and based on last week's weather, I would expect a number closer to 10%. This would bring national planting up to 29%, below the average but still well ahead of 2013's 12%," says Harvey Freese of Freese-Notis Weather, Inc.

The trade was somewhat caught off-guard by the sub-30% number, however, and now that could translate to a bullish jolt once trading resumes, says market analyst and Kluis Commodities broker Al Kluis.

"The report today showed corn planting at just 29%. This was well below trade estimates. Winter wheat crop conditions dropped 2% (to just 31%) good to excellent," Kluis says. "I expect corn planting progress to fall even further behind next week due to widespread rain, which is slowing fieldwork throughout the entire Corn Belt."


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