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USDA: Corn Crop 85% Planted; Progress Data Mostly Neutral to Prices

Eighty-five percent of the nation's corn crop is planted and just over half of that in the ground has emerged, according to Monday's latest USDA-NASS Crop Progress report. That number falls in line with previous trade estimates and shows a 10% bump in planting progress in the last week for corn. Meanwhile, soybean planting is almost to the halfway point, with 45% of that crop in the ground, Monday's report shows.

Soybean emergence sits at 13%, just above the normal pace of 12% for this week. Planting progress for both corn and soybeans sits about 10% higher than the previous average pace, with emergence for corn having taken a 27% jump in the last week alone.

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Winter wheat conditions improved slightly in the last week, with 45% of the crop rated good or excellent, 1% up from the previous week. That number could take a hit in the next report, however, with the likelihood of widespread frost and freezing temperatures in the northern Plains through Monday night into Tuesday morning.

"The good to excellent rating for wheat was up 1% with 45% of the nation’s wheat crop rated good to excellent; this is up 14% from last year. This was a surprise; I thought it would be lower. Spring wheat planting is at 94% complete vs the five year average of 65%," says Kluis Commodities market analyst and grain broker Al Kluis.

Heading into the overnight trading session, Monday's USDA Crop Progress data is largely neutral for grain prices with the exception of wheat; the higher-than-expected number for that crop's condition may be slightly bearish but could have trouble getting past Monday's double-digit-higher open-outcry trading session and the prospect of crop-damaging frost in the overnight hours.

"Today's report is neutral for prices tonight. I expect corn to start out steady tonight. The report is neutral for soybeans prices tonight. Look for a steady market," Kluis says. "This report will be negative for wheat prices. I expect wheat prices to be 1 to 2 cents lower tonight."

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