May 20 is the Magic Date for Planting Progress

01:46PM May 08, 2019
Planting
High-acreage planters deserve close examination during preseason maintenance
( Darrell Smith )

Rain, severe weather, flooding and snow still finding their way across the heartland this planting season. USDA's latest Crop Progress report indicating 235 of the nation's corn crop has been planted. That's half of the five-year average. In Illinois, only 10% is in the ground which is 56 points behind average.

Mike North with Commodity Risk Management Group recently spoke with AgDay's Clinton Griffiths about planting pace. He says once you pass May 20, that's when things start to be late. 

"The goal for the country really is to try to get 83% of the corn in the ground," says North. "If we can do that then we call that a normal year."

North says it depends on your area of the country, but around or shortly following May 20 is when late planting begins for crop insurance purposes. He likes to break planting season down into four key weeks starting the third week of April. 

"So now the question is how can we get from 15% planted in that first week to 83% planted over the next three weeks," asks North.  

Week two put corn planting at just shy of a quarter complete. 

"We've got more rain in the forecast moving beyond that and that will really frustrate our success in getting to that 83% number by May 20," says North. "If we don't have 83% in the ground, now the question is how much are we missing?" 

North says for example, even at 73% planted, it doesn't mean the crop is ruined as long as summer weather is good. 

"If we're less than 73% [planted] that's where things start to get interesting," says North. "The lower you go with that number on May 20 the more exciting it gets for markets."

Planting and the Markets