Corn Planting Progresses, Still Way Behind

The latest USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service data is out, and the results continue to be supportive to corn futures with only 83% of the US corn crop planted, well behind the 99% average.

Some key states were notably behind.  Ohio was only 50% done, Indiana was 67% planted, and Illinois was 73% sown.

The percent of the corn crop that has emerged is even more alarming with 62% emerged, compared with a 10-year average of 93%.  This week, NASS provided its first look at a crop rating, which came in at 59% good to excellent, compared with 77% normally.

On top of that, AgPro reported that some Ohio farmers won’t plant crops at all because of rain and wet fields.  An analyst said there could be more in other states.




Todd Hubbs, Agricultural and Consumer Economist at the University of Illinois, writing for the Extension Service’s Farmdocdaily, said “lower yield expectations for corn and soybeans seem plausible.  By factoring in late planting, a conservative yield estimate for corn near 170 bushels per acre, 4.5 bushels below the current USDA projection, appears reasonable.”

Uncertainty regarding total acreage for corn will linger, but acreage reductions in the 7- to 12-million acres range produces a corn crop 1.7 to 2.2 billion bushels smaller than currently projected by the USDA, Hubbs said.

For soybeans, an average yield of 47.8 bushels, which is 1.7 bushels lower than the current USDA projection, fits current conditions, he said.  Assuming 2 million additional soybean acres from switching out of corn, estimated soybean production comes in 150 million bushels less than forecast by the USDA.

Today’s scheduled World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report should provide the first indication from USDA about the size of both crops this year, Hubbs said.  The June 28 Acreage report will be the next major indicator.

Meanwhile, market attention continues to focus on the potential size of US crops, he said.  Even after the WASDE is released, acreage totals likely will remain uncertain for the rest of the year, and any adjustments in the WASDE report may not reflect the changes facing both crops this year.




Besides the late and soggy planting this year cutting into planted acreage, crop condition ratings usually fall as the growing season progresses, Hubbs said.  Early season ratings do not supply an unbiased indication of the final average yield.  Even so, the upcoming rating, along with severe planting conditions, likely will keep yield expectations low, he said.

Including 1995 with the five years having the worst good-to-excellent ratings, the US average corn yield came in above trend in only 1992 (+11 bushels) and 1990 (+2 bushels).  The average yield over all six years totaled nine bushels below trend.

While the WASDE report may not fade the corn yield very much, an expectation this year for corn yield at or below trend appears reasonable, he said.




Cash cattle trading was reported in the Plains last week at $112 to $115 per cwt on a live basis, down $3 from the previous week.  Dressed-basis trade was reported at $184, down $2.

The USDA choice cutout Monday was down $0.65 per cwt at $221.66, while select was up $1.87 at $208.79.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $12.87 from $15.39 with 58 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Friday was $132.26 per cwt, up $0.39 from the previous day.  This compares with Monday’s Aug contract settlement of $139.82, up $2.57.