sprouting corn

Finally, Planting Progress

Mother Nature eased up on the rain in some areas last week, even as new flooding gained ground. USDA’s weekly Crop Progress report showed South Dakota had 3.4 days suitable for fieldwork; Nebraska 2.6; Kansas 2.4 and Iowa 1.3.

That allowed South Dakotans to boost corn planting by 19 percentage points to reach 44% of their planned acreage.

CORN

Percent Planted
June 2

Improvement from
May 26

Average Planted
to Date

Iowa

80%

4%

99%

Kansas

79

9

93

Nebraska

88

7

98

South Dakota

44

19

96

18 States

67

9

96

 

SOYBEANS

Percent Planted
June 2

Improvement from
May 26

Average Planted
to Date

Iowa

41%

9%

89%

Kansas

26

4

53

Nebraska

64

8

87

South Dakota

14

8

82

18 States

39

10

79

Grain sorghum bumped up from 28% to 35%; the average at this point in the planting season is 53%. Kansas has only 8% of its crop in and Nebraska 36% vs. an average of 26% and 70% respectively.

Less than half the normal percentage of sunflowers have been planted (19% compared to 44%). At a point when an average of 61% of its sunflowers are in the ground, South Dakota reports 0% planted. Kansas, at 17 percent, is just two points behind its average.

Spring wheat planting is further along with 93% of the acreage in the six reporting states completed, only 3 points behind average. As with other crops, South Dakota lags — 86% vs. its average of 99%.

Next moves

Monte Vandeveer, Kansas State University ag economist, lists five options for those who did not get their corn planted by its final plant date, which ranges from May 15 to May 31 in Kansas:

  • Claim Prevent Plant (55% of original production guarantee, or 60% if you bought up PP coverage);
  • Plant to a cover crop during or after the late-planting period;
  • Plant the insured crop during the late-planting period, with a 1%/day reduction in coverage; after the late-planting period, the production guarantee would be 55% of the original APH yield;
  • Plant a different crop, insured if it was also covered originally;
  • Take 35% of the Prevent Plan payment and plant another crop without insurance.

His full article: http://agmanager.info/crop-insurance/risk-management-strategies/prevented-planting-options-2019-kansas-corn-growers

 Winter wheat

Ten percentage points more winter wheat is heading now than last week, though the current 76% is still behind the 84% average. Kansas is only 2 points behind its 97% average, but Nebraska is 30 points behind its 75% average.

wet fields - may 29

Weather Continues to Challenge U.S. Crops

Farmers in our region had little opportunity for field work in the week that ended May 26. USDA reports one suitable day for field work in Iowa, 2.2 in Nebraska and 1.1 in South Dakota. This was less suitable field time than in the previous week.

As rain continued, the percentages of waterlogged fields continued to rise.

 

Topsoil surplus (%)

Subsoil surplus (%)

Iowa

59

55

Nebraska

40

28

South Dakota

56

48

Wyoming

19

15

8 States

37

33

 

The map below shows soil moisture in millimeters. The second map highlights the excess compared with normal.

calculated soil moisture may 28 2019 calculated soil moisture anomaly may 28 2019

At a time when 90% of the corn crop should be planted in the 18 major states, 58% is in the ground. Only 32% has emerged compared to 69% on average at this point in the growing season. Likewise, 29% percent of soybeans were planted as of May 26, less than half the 66% average. Eleven percent of the crop has emerged; the average is 35%.

Crop progress in the states we focus on:

CORN

Percent Planted

Percent Emerged

 

May 26

Avg.

May 26

Avg.

Iowa

76

96

42

77

Kansas

70

88

49

69

Nebraska

81

94

50

73

South Dakota

25

90

2

57

18 States

58

90

32

69

SOYBEANS

Iowa

32

77

8

36

Kansas

22

41

12

22

Nebraska

56

74

23

36

South Dakota

6

64

0

24

18 States

29

66

11

35

 

Grain sorghum planting also is well behind normal, at 28% in the six states USDA reports, compared with a 44% five-year average. In Nebraska, 23% is planted vs. 50% on average. Kansas was at 4% vs. 13% on average.

Spring wheat in the six states USDA reports is 84% complete against a 91% average. South Dakota spring wheat stands are 79% planted vs. 97% on average. Forty seven percent of the crop overall has emerged (average 69%), with 43% of South Dakota’s emerged (86% average).

Winter wheat

Cooler than normal temperatures continued to contribute to slow development of winter wheat: 66% of the crop has headed, 10 percentage points behind average, USDA reports. In Nebraska, 19% has headed (50% average); South Dakota wheat is at zero percent (20% average).

Looking ahead

There is a 70% chance that El Niño will continue through the Northern Hemisphere summer, according to the Climate Prediction Center. Chances are 55% to 60% that it linger through fall. All this suggest continued wet weather.

 three month temperature june 2019

In its outlook for June, July and August, the CPC shows above normal chances of precipitation and a tendency for below normal temperatures in the Western Corn Belt/Plains. There is a better than usual chance for above normal temperatures in the East.

Record Corn Unplanted for This Time of Season

USDA’s Crop Progress report for the week ended May 19 reported 51% of intended acres remain unplanted since USDA began this report, surpassing the prior highest number of 47%. The five-year average for this week is 80%.

Soybeans also are well behind average, at 19% complete vs. 47% the past five years.
In our local states, Iowa is in the best shape and South Dakota is in the worst.

CORN PLANTED

SOYBEANS PLANTED

May 19

5-year average

May 19

5-year average

Iowa

70

89

27

55

Kansas

61

80

17

29

Nebraska

70

86

40

54

South Dakota

19

76

4

39

18 States

49

80

19

49

Only 19% of the corn crop has emerged, compared with a 49% average, while soybeans are 5% emerged, versus 17% on average.

Nebraska had the most days suitable for fieldwork in the week, at 5.0. There were only 2.7 days suitable in Iowa, 3.8 in Kansas, and 3.3 in South Dakota. The current week has started with saturated fields, widespread rains and cool temperatures.

With corn’s final planting date for crop insurance looming on May 31, the Climate Prediction Center puts the probability of rain from May 26-30 at well above normal through the Corn Belt.

The following time period (May 28-June 6) also favors rain.

Corn futures closed Monday at their highest price in nearly a year and wheat prices reached their highest level in three months on continued wet weather. The soybean market is less concerned about the U.S. crop given South America’s large harvest, reduced demand from China, where the African Swine Fever has cut the swine herd, and the impact of tariffs on U.S. exports.

Marketing advisory services point out that managed money traders have been holding large amounts of short positions, meaning they expected prices to fall. They held more than 483,000 contracts for the week of May 14 (see chart from ycharts.com). If they remain convinced this year’s crop will fall short of  expectations because acres aren’t planted, they will buy back their short positions, contributing further to futures price strength.

This could be a year when Revenue Protection insurance shines with its opportunity for coverage to increase if fall prices rise, allowing producers to forward price their crop with the knowledge that the insurance will help cover bushels contracted but not grown. For more, visit frontierfarmcredit.com.

Winter wheat
Only 61% of the Kansas crop has headed, well behind the five-year average of 83%. In Frontier’s service area in the eastern third of the state (NE, EC and SE in the table below), the central and southern sections are ahead of the state average, while the northern section is far behind.

Concerns about the quality of the state’s wheat crop are rising in the face of continued wet weather, although 60% is still rated good/excellent and 10%, poor/very poor. This is slightly below USDA’s rating of the overall crop in its reporting states – 66% on the top end and 8% on the bottom end.
The state’s sunflower acreage reached 1% in the week ended May 19, close to the 3% average but lagging last year’s 6%.

Planting 2019: A daunting task

The Crop Progress report for the week of May 12 confirms only modest progress in planting. In the 18 reported states, just 30% of the corn crop and 9% of the soybeans have been planted versus 66% and 29% five-year averages respectively.

State

Corn planted as
of May 12

Increase from
previous week

Five-year average
for date

Iowa

48%

12%

76%

Kansas

46

5

67

Nebraska

46

11

72

South Dakota

4

4

54

 

Looking at soybeans, the 18 states added only 3 percentage points to planted acres. States we serve:

State

Beans planted as
of May 12

Increase from
previous week

Five-year average
for date

Iowa

13%

5%

31%

Kansas

7

2

16

Nebraska

20

6

20

South Dakota

0

0

19

 

Grain sorghum also is behind normal, but more modestly.

State

Sorghum planted as
of May 12

Five-year average
for date

Kansas

1

3

Nebraska

8

15

South Dakota

0

5

 

Spring wheat

South Dakota’s spring wheat crop is one percentage point ahead of the six-state average for planting, at 46%. This compares with the state’s average of 88% planted at this date and 67% average for the six states.

Little wonder, as the days suitable for fieldwork were very low:
Iowa 1.9 days
Kansas 1.1 days
Nebraska 2.7 days
South Dakota 1.7 days
Wyoming 3.1 days

Winter wheat headed

The winter wheat crop is running late as well given the cool wet weather.

State Winter wheat headed

Five-year average

Kansas

35%

64%

Nebraska

2%

12%

South Dakota

0%

1%

Condition is weighted on the top side, with 56% of the Kansas crop good/excellent and only 11% poor/very poor. Nebraska has 67% on the top end and 4 on the bottom and South Dakota, 68% and 6%. In the 18 states, 64% of the crop is good/excellent and 8% poor/very poor.

Huge swing from dryness

About a third of the crop land has surplus topsoil moisture, USDA reports, with the 48-state average at 34%. The states we report reflect the same tendency.

State

Surplus

Adequate

Short/Very short

Iowa

32

67

1

Kansas

36

62

2

Nebraska

17

79

4

South Dakota

39

61

0

Wyoming

10

83

7

Subsoil moisture is running similarly adequate to surplus, suggesting that when the crop gets into the ground, it will take a while before water becomes an issue – and the long-range weather outlook favors normal or more rainfall through the season.

Pasture conditions also look good, with 63% reported good/excellent in the 48 states and only 7% at the low end of ratings.

More wet ahead

DTN’s senior ag meteorologist, Bryce Anderson, last week shared his latest expectations for the 2019 growing season. To jump to the bottom line, he sees the cool, wet weather lingering into the end of May through the entire central U.S.

Not only is it keeping farmers from the field but disrupting transit of grain exports and fertilizer movement north to farmers, many of whom already anticipated a crunch due to field work that didn’t get done last fall. The Mississippi River broke its 1993 record and is cresting a second time.

“Flooding will continue to be a problem through the entire season – especially in the Western Corn Belt- he said. “Some fields were too damaged to plant this year, for instance.” Comparing this year with analog years 2013 and 2015, Anderson expects prevented plantings to total in the 2-3 million area, well above the 1.5 million average. Virtually all spring crops could be affected.

The Climate Prediction Center’s map shows northeast Kansas is expected to receive almost 4” (100 mm) of more rain than normal between May 9 and May 16 , suggesting continued delays are possible.

predicted soil moisture anomaly may 2019

“However, once the crops are in the ground, growing conditions promise to be quite favorable,” he added. There is a weak El Niño (1o to 2.5o C above normal) in the Pacific Ocean, and it likely will remain in place through the growing season and possibly through the year. El Niño is associated with fewer than normal threats to U.S. summer crops, Anderson explained. On the downside, it could mean another wetter than usual harvest period, though “probably not as bad as last year.”

For more information, contact Bryce Anderson with DTN.

Again, the Climate Prediction Center’s outlook maps for the end of June (shown) and even August project 1.6”-2.4” (40 to 60 mm) more soil moisture than usual.

lagged averaged soil moisture outlook for end of June 2019

Kansas progress

In the week ended May 6, there we three days when some fieldwork could take place, according to USDA. Corn in the 18 reporting states was only 23% planted, compared with a five-year average of 46%, and 6% of so9ybeans were in the ground compared with 14% on average. Kansas corn planting was ahead of some states, but at 41% was behind its 51% average; soybeans came closer to average with 5% planted, one percentage point behind normal.

The eastern part of the state was well ahead of the total: northeast, 56%; east central, 55% and southeast, 56%.

On the plus side, winter wheat yields appear to be strong, based on crop tours ahead of harvest. The Kansas Wheat Quality Council pegged yields at 47.2 bu./acre, well above the five-year average crop tour estimate of 40.2 bu., and last year’s 38 bu.

But crop watchers worry that the crop is running late and prolonged excess moisture could cause problems before harvest is able to commence.

Late Plantings

A conservative estimate for national late corn planting this year is at least 5-10 percent above the long range (1980-2018) average of nearly 17%, according to University of Illinois ag economists Scott Irwin and Todd Hubbs.

They note that years with especially high late planting (2013, 2002, 2009, 1996, 1993, and 1995, in that order),

Impact on yield

Irwin reported five of the six years (19934, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2013) with 30% of the corn crop left to plant after May 20 resulted in about a 6 bu./acre drop in the national average yield versus trend. (2009 saw an above-trend yield.) Based on those analog years, their analysis suggests national yields well below the 175.4 bu. trend yield: 169.3 bu. based on all the years between 1980 and 2018 with 10 percent or more planted late, and to just 168 bu./acre based on years with very late planting (1995, 1996 and 2009).

Click for more analysis on how many acres may be involved and potential impacts on the crop.

Caveat: Fast planting

A recent Farm Journal Pulse poll released May 2 asked farmers how long it takes to plant their crops in perfect conditions. Forty-two percent said they can do it in less than 10 days. Mark Licht, an agronomist at Iowa State University, calculates corn planting peaks between 1 and 1.25 million acres a day (just over 13 days to plant this year’s Prospective Plantings) and about 14 days to plant all the soybeans.

But weather forecasts, including Anderson’s, don’t show that many good field days in the next few weeks. In addition, Anderson added that many fields are slow to dry out even when it isn’t raining, given the saturation and lack of sunshine.

Answers to questions

If you anticipate planting problems, contact your Frontier Farm Credit crop insurance officer for guidance on prevented planting, replanting, late planting, cover crops and related issues.