Farmers remained busy planting corn and soybeans this past week, as was confirmed by the latest USDA crop progress report, covering activity through May 10. More than 6 of every 10 U.S. corn acres are now in the ground, according to the agency, with soybean progress jumping to nearly 40%.
Corn planting progress is now at 67%, up from 51% a week ago and still well above the prior five-year average of 56%. Still, analysts were expecting an even more aggressive planting pace, with an average trade guess of 71%.
Some of the largest corn production states are well ahead of the national average, meantime. Iowa has reached 91% completion, for example, with Minnesota at 89%. On the low end of the spectrum, two states have failed to get out of the single digits, including North Dakota (7%) and Pennsylvania (5%). Nearly every state is ahead of 2019’s dismal pace, which saw only 28% national progress by the second week of May.
Corn emergence moved from 8% a week ago up to 24%. That far exceeded last year’s pace of 9% and is just above the prior five-year average of 22%. Southern states, including North Carolina (72%) and Texas (70%) continue to lead the way for this crop stage.
Soybean planting progress also made significant headway this past week, moving from 23% to 38% -- putting it far ahead of 2019’s pace of 8% and the prior five-year average of 23%. Analysts were expecting an even bigger jump to 41%. Of the top 18 production states, Iowa (71%) leapfrogged to the No. 1 spot after passing southern states Louisiana (68%) and Mississippi (51%). Only one state – North Dakota (4%) is still in the single digits at this time.
Soybean emergence is also ahead of recent years after reaching 7% this week. That’s well ahead of 2019’s pace of 1% and the prior five-year average of 4%. Louisiana (46%) and Mississippi (29%) have the biggest percentage of their crops emerged so far.
This year’s spring wheat crop is now 42% planted, up from 29% a week ago. It’s also an improvement from 2019’s pace of 38% but still well behind the prior five-year average of 63%. And 16% of the crop is emerged, up from 6% last week and moderately trailing the prior five-year average of 29%.
The 2019/20 winter wheat crop is also physiologically a bit behind the pace of recent years. Forty-four percent of the crop is now headed, which is better than 2019’s pace of 38% but still below the prior five-year average of 50%.
Winter wheat crop quality suffered another drop this past week, moving from 55% in good-to-excellent condition down to 53%. Analysts thought the USDA would dock crop quality by a point. Another 31% of the crop is rated fair (unchanged from last week), with the remaining 16% rated poor or very poor (up two points from last week).
Click here to read the latest USDA crop progress report in its entirety.