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Rain Likely to Keep Planting Pace Behind Average

Corn producers who are already behind on planting may be in for further delays as more wet weather is on the way.

Forecasts are calling for a brief break in the rain throughout this weekend but the six- to 15-day outlooks are calling for wetter weather in the southern and eastern Midwest, which likely will slow fieldwork, according to Commodity Weather Group (CWG).

“The biggest likelihood of continued delays in planting activity comes from two different directions: the one is a rainier pattern in the eastern part of the Midwest,” said David Streit, an agricultural meteorologist at CWG. “For that half of the Belt, there’s going to be pretty frequent (rain) activity over the next couple of weeks.”

As of Sunday, 6% of the U.S. corn crop was in the ground, half of the prior five-year average, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report this week. Still, only 5% was planted at the same time last year.

About 1% of soybeans were seeded, trailing the 2% average for this time of year, the USDA said; 2% was in the ground at this time in 2018.

About 5% of the spring wheat crop was planted as of Sunday, well behind the previous five-year average of 22%, the government said. Cold weather in the northern Plains where the crop is planted could hinder fieldwork and likely will slow any crop development, Streit said.

“There’s going to be showers there the rest of this week but their main problem is cool temperatures,” he said. “It looks like they’re going to be running below normal temperatures for a couple weeks. There are a couple things slowing things up right now.”

Canadian wheat growers are in the same predicament as cold weather north of the border also presents a problem. A lack of snow could leave fields, once they’re planted with spring wheat, with dry spots since forecasts call for little rain in at least the next four weeks, Streit said.

In the southern Plains, showers this week were near expectations but favored western Nebraska, southeastern Oklahoma, and south-central and eastern Texas, according to a report from forecaster Radiant Solutions.

Incoming rains should favor eastern areas of the hard-red winter wheat belt today and northwestern areas on Saturday, the report said.

So far this year, the weather has been mostly favorable for winter wheat, which is reflected in the crop conditions report. Some 62% of the entire winter crop was in good or excellent condition, up from 31% at this time in 2018.

“Rains in eastern areas will improve moisture a bit for wheat, but dryness will continue to stress wheat in western areas,” Radiant’s Don Keeney said in the report.

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