Corn Planting Creeps Along

USDA’s weekly crop progress and condition report was almost a re-run of the prior week, with corn planting progress increasing only from 2% last week to 4% for the latest report, according to blogger Stu Ellis at

Among the three-I states, Indiana made the most progress, moving up to 1% complete. Illinois remained at 1%, and Iowa farmers have yet to open the machine shed door. Nationally, the 18 major corn-growing states typically would be at 16% complete, and were at 26% complete at this time a year ago. Regarding wheat, only 8% is headed vs. 42% in 2012, and crop conditions eroded by a percent, with good-to excellent dropping from 36% last week to 35% this week. The acreage in poor to very poor grew from 31% last week to 33% for the latest period. And with heavy rains in the mid to latter part of last week, soil moistures have moved into the surplus category.


The heavy rains along with the below average temperatures resulted in only 0.3 days suitable for fieldwork last week and very little progress in spring fieldwork. Topsoil moisture increased dramatically this week and was rated at 35% adequate and 65% surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated at 5%  short, 68% adequate, and 27% surplus. Cold soil temperatures also continue to be another factor delaying corn planting. Corn planting stayed at 1% planted compared to the five-year average of 24%. Winter wheat conditions were rated at 3% poor, 21% fair, 63% good, and 13% excellent.


Farmers in southwestern and south central counties were able to make very limited progress planting corn. However, their efforts did push planted acreage to 1% complete, which is approximately two weeks behind the five-year average pace. One percent of the intended corn acreage has been planted at this time compared with 43% last year and 16% percent for the five-year average. Only a few scattered fields of soybeans have been planted thus far this spring. Thirty-six percent of the winter wheat acreage is jointed compared with 67% last year and 40%for the five-year average. Winter wheat condition is rated 68% good to excellent compared with 76% last year at this time. Topsoil moisture is 60% surplus and 40% adequate.


Wet conditions in Iowa during the week ending April 21 continued to limit fieldwork, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Snow was received in northern Iowa, while precipitation was mostly rain in southern Iowa. The additional moisture did help to improve both top and subsoil moisture levels. Statewide there was an average of 0.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week. Topsoil moisture levels rated 3% very short, 6% short, 60% adequate and 31% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 14% very short, 32% short and 48% adequate and 6% surplus. There was no report on corn planting.


For the week ending April 21, the cold spell continued across Kansas, with average temperatures at least 10 degrees below normal for most of the state, and lows dropping below freezing in many areas. Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 15% very short, 23% short, 53% adequate, and 9% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 33% very short, 35% short, 31% adequate, and 1% surplus. The winter wheat crop was 43% jointed, behind 96% a year ago and 63% average. The condition of the crop was rated as 16% very poor, 21% poor, 33% fair, 27% good, and 3% excellent. Farmers in the western third of the state are still evaluating the impact of freezing temperatures on their crop.


One day was suitable for field work in Michigan during the week ending April 21, according to the USDA NASS, Great Lakes Region. Rain, snow, and cold weather were prevalent last week. Rainfall totals are well above normal. Some areas saw more than 4 in. of rain. This precipitation, coupled with snow melt and the rain received previously, had streams and rivers running high. Flooding occurred, especially insouthern Michigan. Low areas of fields were under water. Winter wheat in southern Michigan greened nicely. Wheat in northern Michigan remained dormant. Wheat in low areas of fields has been under water for a few days and there may be some loss. Corn planting has yet to begin, compared to last year when 10% of the crop had been planted by this date.


Snow cover and precipitation during the week ending April 21 continued to limit field work in Minnesota. The topsoil and subsoil moisture levels are slowly recharging between frosts. Temperatures remained below normal throughout much of the state. Snow-covered areas and frozen ditches were still common in the northern parts of the state, yet water began flowing in thawed fields elsewhere. There were no days rated suitable for fieldwork statewide, compared with last year’s 3.2, and the average of 2.9. Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 3% very short, 14% short, 59%  adequate, and 24% surplus.


Heavy rains minimized planting and tillage progress across most of the state with 1.6 days suitable for fieldwork. Most of planting and tillage progress was in the southern third of the state, which had 3.8 days or more suitable for fieldwork. The heavy rains caused minor flooding of rivers and creeks. Topsoil moisture supply was 2% short, 60% adequate, and 38% surplus. Corn planting was 13% complete, 17 days behind last year and nine days behind normal. The southeast district increased 24 points to 68% complete. Corn emerged was 5% complete, 10 days behind last year and one day behind normal.


For the week ending April 21, cold temperatures combined with precipitation in the form of snow and rain to halt spring fieldwork, according to USDA’s NASS Nebraska Field Office. Soil moisture supplies in the east showed improvement; however, western counties received 0.5 in. or less of moisture during the week, doing little to build soil profiles. The cold conditions lowered soil temperatures, which declined into the low 40s and upper 30s statewide. Planting activities were at a standstill with only 1.6 days considered suitable for fieldwork. Statewide, topsoil moisture supplies rated 10% very short, 31% short, 56% adequate, and 3% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 49% very short, 41% short, 10% adequate, and 0% surplus. Wheat conditions rated 13% very poor, 30%, 46% fair, 11% good, and 0% excellent.

North Dakota

The cooler temperatures and wet soils have delayed even further the start of fieldwork, with reports indicating that, on average, producers intend to begin fieldwork by May 5. Temperatures across North Dakota last week were at least 9 degrees below normal, with the exception being the southwest part of the state, where temperatures were 6 to 9 degrees below normal. With the continued snow cover, averaging 5.9 in. across the state, there was only 0.1 day suitable for fieldwork. Although moisture supplies continue to improve, the 2013 planting progress remains well behind last year’s early progress and also behind the five-year average. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2% very short, 9%  short, 74% adequate, and 15% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were 5% very short, 35% short, 56% adequate and 4% surplus.


Two days were suitable for field work in Ohio during the week ending April 21. Rain throughout the state kept farmers from working in their fields for most of the week, particularly in the northern and western parts of the state where heavy rains and flooding occurred. The rain has been beneficial to winter wheat, which is in a rapid growth phase. Overall, the crop is looking good. Although some field prep activities are ongoing, many producers are waiting for warmer and drier weather to start planting corn. One percent of the corn has been planted, the same as last week, which compares to 12% for the five-year average and 31% at this point in 2012. The winter wheat crop is rated 12% excellent, 60% good, 23% fair and 5% poor to very poor.

South Dakota

(No report was issued for the week of April 21.)


Yet another soggy, frigid week delayed the start of fieldwork and planting statewide. Some areas of northern Wisconsin received significant snowfall, while cold rain left water standing in fields across the south. Temperatures were well below average and growing degree days lagged behind normal. Hay and winter wheat reportedly remained dormant across much of the state. Statewide, spring tillage was 1% complete, compared to 42% last year and a five-year average of 25%. This represents the latest start to spring tillage in the past 30 years of crop progress data. Topsoil moisture is rated 39% surplus, 56% adequate, with the subsoil moisture at 15% surplus and 62% adequate.





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