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April 25, 2017

2017 U.S. Corn Planting Nearly Catches up to Average Pace

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

It was a relatively good week for planting last week and over the weekend, especially across the more southern locations and farmers took advantage of the improved conditions. Planting conditions were not as good across the northern Corn Belt where they even had some snow over the weekend. Generally, last week was a positive week for corn planting.

Corn - The 2017 U.S. corn planting now stands at 17% compared to 28% last year and 18% average. Farmers planted 11% of their intended corn acreage last week. The most advanced corn planting is in the southern areas with Missouri 46% planted (average is 39%), Illinois is 34% (average is 28%), and Kentucky is 29% (average is 33%). The slowest corn planting is across the northern tier of states with North Dakota 1% planted (average is 4%), South Dakota is 3% (average is 7%), and Minnesota is 6% (average is 17%).

The big state of Iowa is 8% planted compared to 36% last year and 14% average. Nebraska and Indiana are a little ahead of average, while Ohio, Michigan, and Kansas are a little behind average.

On the average, the corn planting pace will now accelerate quickly and next Monday (May 1st) the average should be about 30% with the number being about 50% the following Monday (May 8th). Unfortunately, the long term forecast looks cool and wet and I have been asked numerous times when I start to get worried about delayed corn planting and I would get concerned if by May 8th the planting is more than 10-12% behind the average. If planting is that far behind by the second week of May, it is then possible that a week of wet weather could push planting past the time when corn yields typically start to decline which is about May 15th in the central Corn Belt.

Soybeans - This is the first week that the USDA reported soybean planting and 6% of the 2017 soybean crop has been planted compared to 3% last year and 3% average. As expected, most of the soybean planting occurred in the far southern locations with Louisiana reporting 59% planted (average is 28%), Mississippi is 60% (average is 26%), and Arkansas is 39% (average is 15%). Soybean planting has barely gotten started in most of the Corn Belt.

Early planting for soybeans is not nearly as important as it is for corn, so as long as the soybeans in the Corn Belt are planted by about the end of May, it will be the weather during July and August that will determine the yields.

In the Delta, the trend in recent years has been to plant relatively early maturing soybeans as early as possible so that the critical pod filling period occurs in July and early August when there is less chance of hot and dry conditions. Typically the early maturing soybeans in Delta will turn yellow and start to drop their leaves by about mid-August and there will be some soybeans harvested in the Delta by the end of August. This year the soybeans are being planted extra early in the Delta and as a result, there will be quite a few soybeans harvested by the end of August in the Delta.