Crop Progress: Planting Already Behind Schedule

Includes: CORN, JJA, JJG, MOO, RJA
by: T. Marc Schober

Today, the USDA released its weekly planting progress report. Progress in corn planting is well behind last year’s record pace, with 4% of the crop being planted last week, 7% of the corn crop is already in the ground for the 18 primary producing states. This compares with a 5 year historical average of 8% in similar time periods, and 2010’s estimate of 16%.

The winter wheat crop is still in much worse condition than last year at this time. Of the 2011 crop, only 36% is in excellent or good condition, compared with 69% one year ago. In 2010, 6% of the winter wheat crop was in poor or very poor condition while 38% is in such condition at this time in 2011.

Cotton planting progress is at 9%, which is slightly lower than the 5 year average for the week of 12%. Spring wheat planting is well behind the 5 year historical average with only 5% of the 2011 crop planted compared with the historical average of 12% by the third week in April.

Corn prices decreased 3.3% over the past week ending at $7.51 per bushel. Soybeans were also down 2.6% to $13.44 per bushel, and wheat ended the week down 3.0%, closing at $7.75 per bushel. Crop prices decreased because of the speculation about the central bank increasing interest rates to battle inflation. Year-over-year corn prices are up 116%, soybeans are up 37.7%, and wheat is up 66%. Next week, we will look forward to reporting USDA estimates of emerged corn, along with the usual planting progress.

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Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.