US growers are
increasingly divided between those enjoying strong crop prospects, and those
cursed by poor weather which has delayed sowings, in the north, or ravaged
yield prospects through drought, in the south.
US growers overall
achieved strong progress in spring plantings in the week to Sunday, getting 14%
of their corn seeded to bring the total sown to 73%, just below the average of
76%, and in line with market expectations.
It is equivalent to
about 68m acres of corn, leaving less than 24m acres still to go.
However, some 11m
acres of this outstanding area are in four northern states – Michigan,
Minnestoa, North Dakota and Wisconsin.
Illinois vs neighbouring Wisconsin
Indeed, there is a
deepening division between states which have fared well in sowings - including
Illinois, a major corn producing state, where plantings are 84% finish, 11
points ahead of normal – and the northern states.
And even though
better weather this week should allow many farmers in the likes of Michigan,
and Wisconsin to play catch-up, the idea period for seedings has already passed
and deadlines are approaching next week for prevent plant insurance, raising
ideas of acres designated for corn being switched to other crops, or abandoned.
States ahead in corn plantings - % completed and (change on average)
Missouri: 92%, (+15 points)
Illinois: 84%, (+11 points)
Indiana: 72%, (+10 points)
Colorado: 83%, (+8 points)
Tennessee: 93%, (+8 points)
Source: USDA, as of May 18
through the weekend in the northern Plains likely pushing many producers up
against their insurance dates, expect to see some acreage shifted away from
corn," Brian Henry at Benson Quinn Commodities said.
'Standing water and mud'
In Minnesota, while
growers overcame what US Department of Agriculture scouts termed
"continued cool and wet conditions" to plant 20% of their corn, they
remain 28 points behind the pace.
States behind in corn plantings - % completed and (change on average)
North Dakota: 17%, (-37 points)
Michigan: 29%, (-36 points)
Minnesota: 53%, (-28 points)
Wisconsin: 36%, (-25 points)
Ohio: 50%, (-10 points)
Source: USDA, as of May 18
farmers are, with 29% of corn sown, less than half as far progressed as they
rainy weather conditions deterred progress in row crop plantings," USDA
scouts said, adding that "flooded fields halted fieldwork in most parts of
"farmers were reportedly working around standing water and mud to spread
manure and get seed planted as soon as possible", but still ended up
having sown one-quarter less than typical by Sunday.
growers were the furthest behind, having planted 17% of corn, compared with a
typical 54%, even though "drier conditions allowed fieldwork to progress
over much of the state".
The divide has
become somewhat evident in soybean plantings too, in which North Dakota growers
were only 5% finished, compared with a typical 25%, while Minnesota farmers had
only 16% of their crop in the ground, behind the usual 45%.
The typical US
farmers had 38% of soybeans in the ground, just five points behind the usual
And in spring
wheat, growers have only 49% of crop planted, compared with the average of 68%,
although the sowings window has further to go than for corn.
growers are particularly behind, although North Dakota farmers, the top spring
wheat farmers, have also progressed at less than half the usual pace.
In winter wheat,
the divide is between growers of soft red winter wheat, cropped largely in the
Midwest, which is broadly in decent condition, and those in the hard red winter
wheat region in the south, which has suffered late frosts as well as drought.
The proportion of
wheat in Kansas, the top US winter wheat-growing state, rated "good"
or "excellent" fell 1 point to 12% week on week.
Selected state winter wheat ratings and (change on week)
Idaho: 86%, (+2 points)
Indiana: 69%, (+1 point)
Nebraska: 40%, (-7 points)
Kansas: 12%, (-1 point)
Texas: 11%, (unchanged)
Oklahoma: 5%, (-1 point)
Data: proportion rated good or excellent by USDA, May 18
possible freeze damage to corn and wheat were common across the eastern third
of the state," USDA scouts said, adding that "dry patterns in western
In Oklahoma, where
the proportion of rated "good" or "excellent" dropped 1
point to just 5%, the Panhandle and north central districts have recorded the
driest [March-to-May] season since 1956.
in severe drought areas continued to be disastered out, baled for hay, or
By contrast, 69% of
Illinois wheat is in good or excellent condition, and 58% of the important Ohio
soft red winter wheat crop.