Corn catches up; hard red wheat stressed

by Laura Lloyd
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WASHINGTON — Corn planted in the 18 major states reached the five-year average and was ahead of last year’s pace on the same date, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its May 27 Crop Progress report.

Planting rose from 73% as of May 18 to 88% as of May 25, identical to the 2009-13 average for the date, reflected a welcome turn to warmer, dryer weather conditions across the Corn Belt. Previously cool, wet weather led to widespread planting delays of what is expected to be a record large corn crop, despite the fewest acres planted in the last four years.

Corn planting in top-producing Iowa reached 96% complete as of May 25, just ahead of the 95% average for the date. In Illinois, planting progress reached 95% in the latest week, ahead of the 88% average. Indiana also outpaced the average, with 87% planted compared with 77%.

Northern tier states, which had especially lagged in planting progress because of lingering cool, wet soil conditions, remained behind in their planting pace, despite making rapid progress in the latest week. In states such as North Dakota and Minnesota, there were indications some producers might switch to planting spring wheat. The Minnesota crop was 81% planted as of May 25, behind the 92% average for the date but up from 53% planted as of May 18. North Dakota, at 67% planted, was below the 75% average for the date but up sharply from 17% as of May 18.

In the 18 major states, 60% of the corn crop was emerged as of May 25, down from the 64% 2009-13 average for the date, the U.S.D.A. said.

Soybean planting progress was moving forward swiftly, outpacing the five-year average in the 18 major states. The U.S.D.A. said 59% of the crop was planted as of May 25, up from the 56% 2009-13 average. In top-producing Iowa, 80% of the crop was in the ground, up from the 75% average.

The soybean crop was 25% emerged in the 18 major states, two percentage points behind the five-year average.

Winter wheat in the 18 major states was 70% headed as of May 25, just ahead of 69% as the 2009-13 average for the date and well ahead of 58% at the same time last year.

Overall winter wheat crop conditions were little changed in the week ended May 25, with 30% rated good to excellent (29% a week earlier), 26% fair (27%) and 44% very poor to poor (44%). Drought conditions especially hurt ratings in hard red winter wheat states such as Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Wheat rated very poor to poor in top-producing Kansas was 61%, in Oklahoma was 78% and in Texas was 65%, the U.S.D.A. said.

Growing conditions in soft red winter wheat states have been more favorable, with good soil moisture in most states. Illinois, for instance, was rated 65% good to excellent and Indiana was rated 69% good to excellent in the latest week.

The U.S.D.A. said 74% of the spring wheat crop was planted in the six major states, behind the 82% five-year average as of May 25. Emergence was 43% in the latest week, behind the 57% average.

The oats crop in the nine major states was 89% planted as of May 25, compared with the 94% five-year average. A total of 72% of the crop was emerged, behind the 82% five-year average, and 30% of the crop was headed, about even with the 31% five-year average. The oats crop was rated 60% good to excellent compared with 52% a year earlier.
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