The U.S. corn-planting season is off to a slow start for the second year in a row due to cool wet weather across most of the Corn Belt.
Monday afternoon’s weekly USDA crop update pegged national planting progress at 2% as of Sunday, unchanged from a year earlier and down from a five-year average of 6%.
Planting is behind more significantly on the southern edges of the main U.S. Corn Belt. Missouri planting progress was pegged at 5%, up from 2% a year earlier, but well behind the five-year average of 24%, while only 2% of Kentucky’s corn crop was planted against 1% a year earlier and an average of 21%.
Missouri topsoil moisture was estimated to be 54% adequate and 45% surplus. Spring tillage is 31% complete, compared to a norm of 45%. This is a week and a half behind normal, but well ahead of last year, according to the Missouri field office of the National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS).
In the No. 2 corn-producing state of Illinois, no corn planting progress was reported compared with a five-year average of 7%.
The Illinois office of NASS said a few reports of corn being planted were received, but most of the state’s producers were waiting for fields to dry out. Illinois topsoil moisture was rated 32% adequate and 68% surplus.
Cool weather has not helped with the drying progress. Illinois temperatures averaged 6° below normal last week. Only 1.3 days were suitable for fieldwork in Illinois last week, NASS said.
In the top corn state of Iowa, generally warmer and drier weather prevailed most of last week, which helped dry soils. As conditions improved, fieldwork resumed and gradually accelerated.
Nitrogen applicators were especially busy knifing-in anhydrous ammonia. Other activities included disking stalks, spreading manure and dry fertilizer, seeding oats and repairing tile lines and waterways, the Iowa office of NASS reported.
Iowa fertilizer applications were estimated to be 59% complete, 4 percentage points ahead of last year, but 5 points behind the five-year average.
Some limited planted of corn was reported, but most Iowa farmers were waiting for soil temperatures to warm up, NASS said. Iowa soil temperatures at 4 in. of depth were mostly in the low to mid-40s Fahrenheit as of Monday.
Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.