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Corn, Soybean Planting Catches Up, Poised for a Stall -- USDA

Spring 2014 is shaping up to be one of the wildest corn-planting roller-coaster rides in recent years.

After a rain-soaked week in much of the Corn Belt that saw few planting strides the previous week, farmers made up for that lost time in a major way last week, according to Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report. For the moment, that puts corn planting just ahead of the normal pace at 59% complete, a 30% gain over the last week. Farmers in the "I states" of the Corn Belt made some of the greatest strides, as did faremrs in Ohio, where farmers planted 31% of that state's crop in the 7 days preceding Sunday. Iowa farmers went from 23% to 70% done, while farmers in Illinois and Indiana went from 43% to 78% and 20% to 61% complete, Monday's report shows.

"“Farmers were very busy in the fields last week with nearly half of expected corn acres being planted, about 7 million acres, and almost 20% of soybeans being planted, or about 2 million acres,” Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey said Monday. “The rain we received was good for the crop in the ground but is a challenge for those still needing to get crops planted.”

However, emergence of that corn crop's not quite keeping pace with the planters. Though the last week saw an 11% jump in emergence, the 18% figure as of Sunday remains 7% behind the normal pace. And, reports from late last week show there are some emergence issues, namely uneven emergence, that could cause yield issues down the road.

"My ground was at 58 degrees the Monday before last. The forecast was for some rain but highs in the 60- to 80-degree range. I planted about 40 acres. Didn't get that warm and rained a lot. It's sprouted. But not up yet," says Crop Talk senior contributor buckfarmer. "I've never had it take this long to emerge. I couldn't find any seed that wasn't sprouted but some was closer to emerging than others."

Still, others aren't as worried about this early-season moisture anomaly...if the opposite end of the spectrum doesn't reach fruition later on in the growing season.

"I wouldn't worry yet. I think it was 2011 I had corn that took a full month to get out of the ground due to cool, wet conditions," adds Crop Talk veteran contributor Pat in CMO. "It was fine until drought set in."

As for soybeans, farmers made big strides with that crop in the last week, too, going from 5% planted to 20% in the last week, according to Monday's report. That's just 1% behind the normal pace. But, planting progress for both corn and soybeans will take a dive in the next report, says market analyst and broker Al Kluis with Kluis Commodities.

"I expect corn planting progress to fall behind next week with a lot of rain this weekend and this week for the wet areas in the northern Corn Belt," he says.

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