Corn plantings surge

May 24, 2013

The most recent Crop Progress report showed some corny hope on the horizon; corn plantings are approaching the five-year average.

The May 20 Crop Progress report showed overall corn plantings jumped 43 percent in the prior week. The previous report (released May 13) showed only 28 percent of the expected crop planted, but the most recent report quoted 71 percent. The five-year average for that week in May is 79 percent. The increase amounted to an estimated 41.8 million acres planted in one week.

“Thanks to the marvels of technology and with some cooperation from mother nature, US corn farmers were able to make significant progress in getting this year’s corn crop,” said Steve Meyer and Len Steiner of CME’s Daily Livestock Report. They credited large planters and a dry spell which took hold last week for the ability of corn farmers to advance plantings so quickly.

They also pointed out, however, that this was the biggest one-week percentile jump seen in corn plantings since 1992. That year, however, had a far smaller total acreage projection than this year, making the accomplishment even more impressive.

“When accounting for the increase in corn acres that are expected to be planted this year, week 20 in year 2013 is by far the biggest number of acres ever planted in a one week window,” they said.

Four states—Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Dakota—had planting rates above their five-year average, and an additional four—Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina and North Dakota—were within 5 percent of their five-year average. Two-thirds of the reported corn states saw a 30 percent or higher one-week planting gain.

Rain last week and the potential for it this week may slow the planting of the remaining 29 percent of the corn crop. The difficulty in getting all expected acres planted in corn may lead some farmers to switch corn acres to soybeans, though not everyone is convinced of this possibility. Meyer and Steiner said evidence is mixed on the potential.

“The rally in soybean prices recently certainly provides an incentive to get more acres planted but the logistics and management challenges for a switch this late are quite significant.” — Kerry Halladay, WLJ Editor