Power Hour: Huge Corn Crop Still Possible

May 14, 2013 09:30 AM
Power Hour: Huge Corn Crop Still Possible

Corn planting is substantially behind schedule but a good-weather window is opening, which is keeping prices lower.

Farmers across the country did double their planting progress last week, but are still sitting at a record-low of 28% planted as of May 12. The five-year average for this time is 65% planted.

See AgWeb's Corn Planting Map:

planting map 5 14 13

Paul Georgy, president/CEO of Allendale, Inc., and author of The Allendale Wake-Up Call blog, says the major focus is on the I-states. "Those states only have an average of 20% planted, when they should be about 65% planted," he says.

Here’s how the top give corn-growing states are progressing with planting this spring:

  • Iowa: 15% planted, 64 percentage points behind the five-year average
  • Illinois: 17% planted, 47 percentage points behind the five-year average
  • Nebraska: 43% planted, 34 percentage points behind the five-year average
  • Minnesota: 18% planted, 50 percentage points behind the five-year average
  • Indiana: 30% planted, 24 percentage points behind the five-year average


Overall, U.S. corn planting is at a record-low. Georgy says the previous record was in 1984, when 29% of the crop was planted by this date.

Planting Window Finally Opens

According to USDA’s Joint Ag Weather Facility, many farmers should see optimal planting weather this week.

In the West, warm, dry weather favors fieldwork and crop growth. Planting is ahead of the normal pace for most crops, including cotton (in Arizona and California), rice (in California), and spring wheat (in Idaho and Washington).

On the Plains, very warm weather continues to promote an acceleration of fieldwork and crop development. Warmth is especially notable on the central Plains, where today’s high temperatures will again approach or reach 95°F. Precipitation (showers and thunderstorms) are mostly confined to the Red River Valley.

In the Corn Belt, cool weather lingers across Michigan and Ohio, accompanied by scattered showers. Warmer air is overspreading the remainder of the Midwest, promoting an acceleration of corn and early-season soybean planting.

In the South, frost advisories were in effect this morning as far south as northern and western North Carolina. Elsewhere, dry but cool weather is conducive to fieldwork operations, including cotton, peanut, rice, and soybean planting.

Mark Gold, president of Top Third Ag Marketing, says with nice weather in the forecast, planting should take off this week. "We’ve got five days here to get a lot of grain in the ground," he says. "I think we could be well over 50% by the end of the week."

Gold says the general thinking in the marketing world is that late planting will lower yield potential. "That will affect the trade, but I’m not sure that’s entirely true," he says. "With good weather in June and July, we can have a huge, huge corn crop, if we get it in the ground."

But, if planting delays continue, Gold believes there could be another shot for prices to go higher in the near-term.

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