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Be Ready for a Planting Progress Shock

May 18, 2013
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor
Flying Money

Jerry Gulke doesn’t think the grain market is prepared for how much planting was completed this week.

Even though the calendar reads May, you’d think it was mid-April by the way planters have been rolling across farm country.

This week, the planting window finally opened for many. According to this week’s Farm Journal Pulse, nearly 60% of the respondents’ corn acres were planted by May 15. Here’s an overview of the results:

Of the 1,678 respondents:

  • 0% planted: 12%
  • 1-25% planted: 17%
  • 26-50% planted: 17%
  • 21-75% planted: 14%
  • 76-99% planted: 13%
  • 100% planted: 26%

5 15 13 Pulse

As of May 12, USDA estimated 28% of the corn crop is planted. The five-year average for this time is 65% planted.

Jerry Gulke, president of the Gulke Group, says the market realized we had this open window for planting.

"I think we will shock the world with how much we got done this week," he says. "A lot of our clients who thought last week it would take 10 days to get into the field are now almost done. It is miracle what a 20 mph wind and 90 degrees will do to soil moisture."

Gulke says several of his clients from several states said they posted a record day or week in terms of planting progress this year. "I think we could have planted 40% this past week in corn."

All eyes will be on Monday’s Crop Progress report. Gulke expects the percent for planted corn will be in the higher 60s. There’s an upside chance that we’ll post a 70% complete for progress, he says. "If we do, I don’t think the market is prepared for that."

Acreage Update

On Friday, Informa Economics updated its planted acreage estimates. Here’s an overview of the report:

  • Corn: Informa at 96.8 million acres, down 455,000 acres from USDA's March projection
  • Soybeans: Informa at 78.3 million, up 1.16 million acres from USDA's March projection
  • Spring wheat: Informa at 12.4 million, down 300,000 acres from USDA's March projection
  • All cotton: Informa at 10.2 million, up 215,000 acres from USDA's March projection

Gulke says the corn adjustment is not critical, considering total acreage is near 97 million. What he finds interesting is the soybean acreage change. "Not all corn acres went to beans and beans got acres from somewhere else," he says.

Also, in adding up all the acres, Gulke says Informa is showing there is around 3 million acres less planted than was USDA suggested was planted last year.

"It is hard to believe acres won’t get planted with soybeans are $12 and corn $5," he says. "I’ll be interested to see what our final acreage will be in late June. I think we’ll have more acres planted by the June Acreage report than we did in the March Planting Intentions report."

Hear Gulke's full audio analysis:


Have a question for Jerry? Contact him at 815-721-4705 or


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