Lag in spring planting progress fuels run-up in futures, May 24, 2011
by Jay Sjerven

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Planting progress for the principal crops across the United States and Canada lagged well behind recent averages for the date and helped fuel last week’s rallies in grain and oilseed futures.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicated spring wheat planting in the six key states on May 15 was 36% completed compared with 22% a week earlier, 78% on the same date last year and 76% as the recent five-year average for the date. In North Dakota, the nation’s largest spring wheat-producing state, growers saw only 2.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ended May 15 because of recurring waves of rain. Spring wheat in North Dakota was only 15% planted on May 15 compared with 68% as the recent five-year average. Durum planting in the state was only 3% completed compared with 46% as the average for the date. Topsoil moisture in the state on May 15 was 39% surplus and 60% adequate.

Corn planting in the United States on May 15 was pegged at 63% completed compared with 75% as the average for the date. While planting in some key states such as Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri was ahead of the average pace, progress in Minnesota and across the eastern Corn Belt was well behind. Ohio corn planting was only 7% completed compared with 70% as the average for the date, and Indiana corn was only 29% planted compared with an average of 66%. The Minnesota corn crop was 47% planted compared with 81% as the average. Soybean planting on May 15 was 22% completed compared with the recent five-year average of 31%. Again, progress across the western Corn Belt was ahead of recent averages while Minnesota and the eastern Corn Belt lagged behind. Planting was 9% completed in Minnesota, 6% in Indiana and 3% in Ohio compared with recent five-year progress of 38%, 30% and 44%, respectively.

Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food indicated spring planting was 23% completed across the province compared with 44% as the recent five-year average for the date. Durum planting was estimated at 28% completed, and spring wheat was estimated at 22% planted.

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