NAPERVILLE: All 11 US Crop Watch farmers report that corn and soyabean planting progress was slower than normal last week in their respective areas, and many see spotty opportunities in the coming week, which could put the overall planting campaign well behind schedule.
Through Sunday, just four of the 22 Crop Watch fields had been planted, including the Indiana soyabeans on Saturday. The Kansas corn was planted April 12 and both southeastern Illinois fields were completed on April 23.
The western Illinois soyabeans were in progress Monday morning with a targeted same-day finish. The South Dakota producer started the subject corn field on Friday but was rained out.
Crop Watch follows 11 corn and 11 soyabean fields across nine US states from planting through harvest. This is the fifth year for the project and regular weekly updates will begin once most of the fields have emerged.
US farmers planted their crops much faster last spring, and Crop Watch reflects that. Last year, 13 of the 22 fields were planted in April and the last two were finished on May 18. Only four were planted in April 2022.
But the 2022 planting dates are so far better than in 2019. Crop Watch had 16 fields that year, and just one was planted in April and five were planted in June.
STATUS All Crop Watch growers except the one in Nebraska and the one in Kansas for corn are currently behind where they would want to be with their personal corn and soya planting efforts.
The hold-up is the cool, and sometimes wet, conditions that have persisted for the last several weeks. That excludes Kansas, where the grower is actually waiting on rain to begin soyabean planting, which is normally 50% complete at this time.
That lack of moisture in Kansas has allowed for corn planting to run a bit faster than normal, but it has wreaked havoc on the winter wheat. The Kansas producer reports wheat in the area deteriorated further in the last week and that many fields have begun the heading stage with plants up to half the usual height, limiting yield potential. The Nebraska producer’s corn and soya progress has been close to normal due to dry conditions, but late-week rains stalled efforts and that will likely bleed into this week. However, the improvement in moisture is considered positive by many area growers.
The North Dakota grower had a similar sentiment after crops in the state were damaged by severe drought last year. The moisture is welcome, but the flooding and planting delays are a nuisance. The producer says conditions were much worse at this point in 2020, when millions of acres went unplanted in the state due to waterlogged fields.
The North Dakota producer may be able to begin planting in two to three weeks if the situation does not worsen, though other growers may try to get going later this week. Most report that progress is likely to be on and off this week because of recent and expected rains along with cooler temperatures.
LOOKING AHEAD US corn planting usually reaches halfway by May 8, but that may be impossible now after slower progress last week and the same trend likely to continue this week. US corn was 7% planted as of April 24 versus a 15% average.
The US Department of Agriculture will update figures on Monday afternoon reflecting progress through Sunday. On average in the week ended May 1, US farmers’ corn planting progress jumps 17 percentage points. The following week is statistically the busiest, with normal gains at about 21 points.
US soyabeans were 3% planted as of April 24, slightly behind normal, and only 27% of winter wheat was rated good or excellent, the lowest since 1996. Wheat in the dry Southern Plains may receive some relief this week with multiple chances for rain.