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Wet Weather = Prevented Planting Concerns

89.2 million of corn acres and a record-breaking 84.6 million soybean acres. Those are the numbers that were laid out in the USDA’s Prospective Plantings report on March 30, 2015. Combine that with the planting completion numbers from the June 8 Crop Progress report, and we’re seeing big numbers with possibly bigger implications from prevented-planting acres.


“Two percent of intended corn acres and 21% of intended soybean acres remain unplanted as of last week,” describes John Newton with the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois. “For soybeans, the percent of planted acres through June 7 falls short of last year's planting pace by 7 percentage points but is only two percentage points below the five-year average of 81% planted on June 7.”

In other words, unplanted corn and soybean acres sit at 1.9 million and 18 million, respectively. The areas with the most substantial amount of unplanted acres are, in fact, the same portions of the country that have experienced significantly above-average rainfall throughout the planting season. 

The past 30 days have brought well above 100% of normal precipitation in many western Corn Belt states. Focus in on Kansas and Missouri for a minute. Precipitation has reached as much as 600% above average for this time of year, contributing to their soybean planting numbers of 31% (Kansas) and 30% (Missouri). That’s around 50 percentage points below last year’s pace. Since the rain doesn’t seem to be letting up, there is concern that those planted acres may need to be replanted. Yield response due to either late planting or replanting could be damaging to the bottom line.

“USDA's crop-weather model reveals that for each percentage of the U.S. corn crop planted late, 0.289 bushels per acre are lost (Westcott and Jewison, 2013). The actual yield response is not linear, however, and at some point in time it is no longer timely to plant the crop,” explains Newton. “Final planting dates vary by crop and by area, but after such dates, prevented-planting payments can be taken if areas have not been planted due to weather-related problems.”

While numbers may seem detrimental up front, the soybean planting progress of 79% is only 2% behind the five-year average of 81%. Also, there isn’t as high a yield penalty for soybeans as there is for corn, and there is some time to get those crops in the ground. 

For more on the history of prevent-planted acreage, check out farm doc daily.

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