U.S. corn planting is progressing at the slowest rate in 20 years as producers were able to plant only 2% of their crop during the week ended Sunday due to cold, wet weather.
In its weekly crop update on Monday afternoon, USDA pegged U.S. corn planting progress at 4%, up from 2% a week earlier and well behind last year’s pace of 26% and the five-year average of 16%.
The planting pace was the slowest for April 22 since the severe flood year of 1993, when only 3% of the crop was reported in the ground by that date.
Out of the top four corn states of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska, Illinois is still the only one to report any measurable planting activity, but Illinois producers made no progress last week with only 1% of the state’s crop planted as of Sunday, unchanged from a week earlier. On average over the previous five years, 24% of the Illinois crop was planted by April 22, along with 14% of the Iowa crop, 11% of the Minnesota crop and 8% of the Nebraska crop.
Indiana was the only state in the Midwest region to report any planting progress for the week ended Sunday as producers there were able to plant 1% of their crop.
Little planting is likely to occur in Iowa or Illinois this week either after last week’s heavy rains left fields there water-logged or flooded. Also, Illinois and Indiana are expected to see another inch of rain on Tuesday, along with parts of Missouri and Kentucky, while other parts of the Corn Belt should see 0.50-0.75 in. of precipitation.
Despite the slow start to planting, weather forecasts calling for weather forecasts calling for above-normal temperatures to move in over the coming weekend and next week along with drier conditions, pressured corn futures on Monday.
Monday afternoon’s National Weather Service six- to 10-day forecast for April 28-May 2 was not quite as promising, however, as it called for normal temperatures across the center of the Corn Belt and above-normal rainfall for Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan.