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45629

Corn Planting Still Behind Schedule; More Delays Loom -- USDA

Just shy of 10% of the nation's corn crop is planted. Though that's a fairly sizable step up from last week, it's still behind the normal pace as Corn Belt farmers begin a week that will likely see slow -- if any -- fieldwork and planting progress due to weekend rainfall.

Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report shows 9% of the nation's corn crop is planted, up 7% from last week and 4% off the normal pace for this week. Farmers in parts of the Corn Belt saw decent progress, while others remain on the sluggish side; farmers got 15% of the Illinois crop planted, and Iowa farmers went from zero to 7%. Meanwhile, farmers in Ohio and Indiana have yet to move beyond 1% planted, Monday's data show.

"Overall planting progress was a little lower than pre-report trade estimates," says Kluis Commodities market analyst and grain broker Al Kluis. "I expect corn planting progress to fall behind next week with a lot of rain this weekend and again this week for the wet areas in the eastern Corn Belt and Delta."

Parts of the Plains also saw rainfall over the weekend, and while it was a much more welcome sight there than in the Midwest, some farmers question whether rainfall this late in the season will do much, if anything, to help restore previously drought-trimmed yield potential. Wheat conditions were actually unchanged from last week; as of Sunday, 42% of the winter wheat crop is in good or excellent condition, while 53% is in either poor or fair shape, Monday's report shows.

In general, Kluis says Monday's data is just "a little positive" for corn and wheat prices moving into Monday's overnight trade into Tuesday.

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