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Corn Planting Is in the Homestretch -- USDA

Three quarters of the U.S. corn crop is in the ground. This comes in at the high end of the previous trade estimate range and marks another week that saw farmers get at least 20% of the crop in the ground as of Sunday. The 75% completion is also 18% above the previous average pace and now, farmers in all but a couple of states are ahead of their normal planting pace, some by a long way.

Of that corn already sown, 29% of it has emerged. That's a 20% jump in the last week and well above last year's and the previous five-year average pace.

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Soybean planting moved at a brisk pace in the last week; as of Sunday, 31% of the crop is in the ground, up 18% from the previous week and 11% above the previous average pace.

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Though USDA's data show continued rapid progress in planting for both corn and soybeans, some farmers say not everything is perfect. In many fields where conditions have allowed planting in the last week, they haven't been perfect for early emergence and may be promoting early pest and disease pressures. Also, some say continued rainy weather may cause their acres to look a lot different than they intended at the beginning of the season.

"[This year] is a done deal. I finished with corn Saturday night at 10:35. There was .61" rain last night. Cold, cloudy, and windy today. Beans in the bag yet, but too many of them in the world, anyway," says southern Iowa farmer and Agriculture.com Marketing Talk adviser Hobbyfarmer. "Went to town this morning and saw a lot of weedy stalk fields that haven't been touched yet."

Adds Marketing Talk contributor lsc76cat: "250 miles north, I was planting beans after 10:00 p.m., Saturday too. I could see two other sets of lights in fields west of me, all trying to get as much done as possible before the rain forecast for Sunday morning. The rain finally showed up for us about 7:00 p.m. Sunday (0.3"). Not too sure about those 'perfect' planting conditions. Corn is up and can be rowed everywhere but the peat ground. That ground is just cold enough to slow things down."

Rain is expected to be a common sight in parts of the Plains and western Corn Belt through midweek, forecasters say. The good news: That rain will be accompanied by warm temperatures, a trend that could last through early June. More good news in areas where the most corn remains to be planted is that rainfall this week should be lightest in the eastern Corn Belt.

"The late-May models hint at a warmer, drier pattern that could last until early June. Warmer than normal but not super-hot," according to meteorologist David Tolleris with WXRisk.com. Adds Don Keeney, MDA Weather Services senior ag meteorologist: "Continued limited rains in the southeastern Midwest will favor remaining corn and soybean planting there."

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