Crop Progress: Alarming 87% of Corn Crop Yet to Be Planted

by: T. Marc Schober

Today, the USDA released its weekly planting progress report. Corn planting progress is very behind last year’s outstanding pace, with only 4% of the crop being planted last week, 13% of the total corn crop is in the ground for the 18 primary producing states. This compares with a 5 year historical average of 40% in similar time periods, and 2010’s estimate of 66%. Top corn producing states Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Dakota, and Ohio, all reported no progress in corn planting over the past week due to the record amounts of precipitation.

The winter wheat crop condition continues to worsen as more of the crop slipped grade this past week. Of the 2011 crop, only 34% is in excellent or good condition, compared with 68% one year ago. In 2010, 7% of the winter wheat crop was in poor or very poor condition while 41% is in such condition at this time in 2011. Winter wheat growth is ahead of schedule with 33% of the crop already headed, compared with the 5 year historical average of 29%.

Cotton planting progress is at 18%, which is slightly behind the 5 year average for the week of 24%. Spring wheat planting is still well behind the 5 year historical average with only 10% of the 2011 crop planted compared with the historical average of 43% by the first week in May.

Corn prices decreased 4.4% over the past week ending at $7.30 per bushel, soybeans were up 0.1% to $13.90 per bushel, and wheat ended the week down 8.8%, closing at $7.59 per bushel. Year-over-year corn prices are up 99%, soybeans are up 41%, and wheat is up 55%. Next week, we will look forward to reporting USDA estimates of planted soybeans 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.