Corn planting tops 5-year average but emergence lags

by Laura Lloyd
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WASHINGTON — Corn planting in the 18 major states for the week ended May 11 surpassed the 2009-13 average for that date, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its latest Crop Progress report.

The corn crop was 59% planted as of May 11, up 30 percentage points from a week ago, up 33 points from a year ago and 1 point ahead of the five-year average, the U.S.D.A. said. The crop was 18% emerged, ahead of only 5% last year but below the 25% five-year average.

Corn futures fell on the news that planting has caught up to historical levels for the date. Prices had remained firm, exceeding $5 a bu for the July contract, on continuing fears of planting delays as a result of the cool, wet spring that was limiting farmers’ abilities to do fieldwork.  Reassurance of planting progress moved futures prices below the key $5-a-bu level in most contracts.

The winter wheat crop advanced to 44% headed as of May 11, ahead of 28% at the same time last year and near the 46% five-year average, the U.S.D.A. said.

But condition of winter wheat showed more deterioration in the latest week with the overall 18-states rated at 30% good to excellent (31% a week earlier) and 42% very poor to poor (38%).

Ratings for individual hard red winter wheat states were either about steady or trended lower. Top-producing Kansas was rated 13% good to excellent (17% the previous week), 31% fair (36%) and 56% very poor to poor (47%). The Oklahoma crop maintained 6% good to excellent but saw an increase in very poor to poor at 75% (73%). Texas was rated 11% good to excellent (13%), 21% fair (23%) and 68% very poor to poor (64%). These three states have been particularly hard hit with drought this year.

Other hard red winter wheat states showing declines were Colorado, with 29% good to excellent as of May 11 (31%), 33% fair (32%) and 38% very poor to poor (37%), and Nebraska 21% rated good to excellent (19%), 32% fair (35%) and 47% very poor to poor (46%). Montana was about unchanged with 62% of its crop rated good to excellent (63%), 31% fair and 7% rated very poor to poor (6%). South Dakota ratings were little changed as well: 64% good to excellent, 33% fair and 4% very poor to poor (3%).

Spring wheat planting in the six major states remained behind average. A total of 34% of the crop was planted as of May 11, well below the 2009-13 average of 53% for the date. A total of 12% of the crop was emerged, lagging significantly the 27% average.
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