Will weather affect corn planting in the US?

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/dannyone
© iStock/dannyone

Related tags Crop Wheat Usda

After poor weather and a slow start in some regions, US feed crop planting moves forward, says USDA.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) released details of crop planting, emergence and quality earlier this week in its crop progress report.

With the rain in the Midwest in recent weeks there is concern that more acres of corn will be lost to weather challenges, said Scott Stiles, extension economist with the University of Arkansas. If planting is prevented or seed washed away, acres may transition to soybeans.

“That makes the June 30 acreage report from NASS more interesting,” ​he said. “We’re looking at record acres currently, are we going to see even more soybean acres?”

Right now producers may still be in a state of flux but the decision to switch could be difficult if planting corn means a potential yield drag and soybean prices remain below $10 a bushel, he said.

Additionally, there also are questions about what summer weather will mean for crop yield, he said. “The slow start to corn planting is something that could make soybean planting later than desired, but the biggest factor on soybean yield is the August temperatures,”​ he added.

Soil conditions and mud

Some of the rain and regional flooding is starting to dry, said the USDA.

For the week ending May 14, only 18% of cropland acres were listed has having surplus topsoil moisture, said the department. Last week it was 27%.

However, four states continued to have more than 50% of their cropland acres showing surplus topsoil moisture, the department said. These included Connecticut at 75%, Maine at 76%, New York at 64%, and Vermont at 60%

Similarly, overall acreage with excess sub-soil moisture levels fell from 22% last week to 16%, the department said.

Corn and soy specifics

Corn planting saw a jump with 47% of the crop planted last week and 71% crop planted by the end of the week ending May 14, said USDA. The completion level puts the planting effort ahead of the multi-year average, but it still trails last year’s progress.

The few states that have surpassed last year’s rate of planting include Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Texas, the department said.

However, emergence of the corn crop continues to lag in the 18 states responsible for the majority of the US corn production, said the USDA.

On average about 36% of the crop has sprouted by this time and last year 41% had emerged, said the department. By this point in the year, about 31% of the new crop has emerged.

In the 18 states responsible for the majority of the soybean crop, planting has caught up with the multi-year average, said the department. So far this year about 32% of the crop has been planted.

However, last year by this point about 34% of the crop was in the ground, said the department. The states that have managed to outpace last year’s rate include Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota.

Last week few states were seeing emergence of the upcoming soybean crop, but this week about 8% of the crop has sprouted, the department said. Last year by this point, and on average, about 9% is up by this time of year.

The three states where none of the crop has emerged yet are Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Wheat details and condition

Heading for the winter wheat crop has not reached last year’s maturation rate, but has surpassed the average, said the USDA. About 63% of the crop has reached that level of maturity, ahead of the 57% average.

The process is almost complete in several states, including Arkansas, California, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas, said the department. However, it has yet to start in three states – Michigan, Montana and South Dakota.  

Overall condition for the crop is down from last week and last year, said the department. At this point last year about 63% of the crop was considered good or excellent and just over half the crop has earned that rating at this point for 2017.

Planting of spring wheat is ahead of average, said the department. But, with 78% of the crop planted, it remains behind the pace set last year.

Crop emergence however trails both the 44% that typically has sprouted by this point in the year, and the 57% that had emerged by this point last year.  

A look at other feed grains

Planting for the upcoming sorghum crop continues to lag behind both last year’s progress and the average planting rate, said the USDA. About 32% of the crop is in the ground, down from 33% last year and 35% on average.

For the four states responsible for the majority of the sugar beet crop, work has almost finished, said the department. About 96% of the crop has been planted, put producers behind last year’s rate but ahead of average planting.

Overall conditions for pasture and rangeland are in line with last year, said the department about 62% of acres are good or excellent about 63% were last year at this time.

Barley is behind both were it was last year and the multi-year average for planting, the department said. And, the amount that has emerged also is behind past years’ production.

Oat planting and emergence offered a slightly different story as both are behind last year, but ahead of the multi-year average, said the USDA.   

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