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young soybean plant

Slightly Lower Condition Ratings Take Center Stage

With corn planting nearing completion at 96% for the week ending June 23, attention turns to condition.

Emergence is behind average by 10 percentage points at 89% in the 18 reporting states. In Iowa, emergence lags by 4 points; Nebraska, 5; Kansas, 6; and South Dakota, 20 points with only 79% of the crop emerging.

In the 18 states, the corn crop is rated 56% good/excellent and 12% poor/very poor this week, compared with 77% in the top categories and 5% in the bottom two last year. This also is down several points from the week earlier, and the market took note, bumping corn futures more than 4¢ higher through the December contract.

 

Corn

Soybeans

 

Good/excellent

Poor/very poor

Good/excellent

Poor/very poor

Iowa

62

8

63

5

Kansas

50

13

43

13

Nebraska

77

4

75

3

South Dakota

56

6

55

5

 

Soybean planting – with its generally later final dates and late-planting period – still lags with just 85% planted compared with a five-year average of 97%. However, in the states we report, most are only 3 to 6 percentage points behind average. South Dakota at 84 percent planted is the exception, running 15% behind its usual pace.

Emergence in the 18 states is reported at 71%, 20 points behind average. In Iowa, 81% of the soybean crop is up (96% average); Kansas, 68% (78%); Nebraska, 85% (96%) and South Dakota, 92% (95%).

As the table above shows, soybean condition is rated fairly close to that of corn. It also has dropped a few percentage points from the prior week.

Other spring crops

Grain sorghum planting is 84% complete, according to USDA. The five-year average for this point in the planting period is 91% complete. Kansas reports the slowest pace at only 77% planted compared with 88% on average; Nebraska, at 91%, is seven points behind and South Dakota, at 92%, is one point ahead of average. Not much sorghum has headed in states outside of Texas. Condition in the states we report ranges from 67% good/excellent in Kansas to 80% in Nebraska. Only 1% to 3% is rated poor.

Sunflower planting is only a few points behind average. The four reported states reached 85% complete compared to their five-year average of 89%. Kansas is three points behind at 73; South Dakota is two points behind at 82%.

Winter wheat

Ninety-four percent of winter wheat in the 18 leading states has headed. The lowest percentage is in South Dakota, where only 80% has headed compared with an average there of 94%. Harvested acreage is less than half the average for the week ended June 23 – 15% vs. an average of 34%. What has been harvested is in the southern states. In the states we report, Kansas stands at just 5% (average 36%).

Pasture and range

Pasture and range conditions dropped 3% on the top end and increased 2% on the bottom end. But at 68% good/excellent and just 8% poor/very poor, condition is dramatically better than last year’s 49% and 20%.

corn young closeup

Planting Progress: What We Do – and Don’t – Know

Two consecutive weeks of drier weather gave producers more field days for planting progress. Iowa had 10.5 days of suitable fieldwork for the weeks ending June 9 and June 16; Kansas, 10.4; Nebraska, 10; and South Dakota, 9.3.

In the 18 states, USDA reports 92% of corn planted and 77 of soybeans planted as of June 19. By state:

State Corn planted Average Soybeans planted Average
Iowa 98 100 89 98
Kansas 96 99 74 82
Nebraska 98 100 91 98
South Dakota 78 100 70 98

 

However, be careful in interpreting these numbers, cautions David Widmar of Agricultural Economic Insights. Some farmers are switching crops during this period of delayed planting, identifying fields that can’t be planted, etc. Consider the impact of a farmer who intended to plant 100 acres of corn and 100 acres of beans, but now is switching 20 acres from corn to beans. Instead of being 80% finished, the farmer now is 100% finished with corn planting. Conversely, the 20 additional acres of soybeans might still be unplanted and not accounted for in USDA’s report on planting progress.

Widmar also cautions that USDA’s reduction in corn acreage and yields in its June 11 World Supply and Demand (WASDE) estimates can be misinterpreted as well. USDA always includes an assumption of some prevent plant acres.

“Our best estimate is a base rate of 1.6 million, plus a 3 million reduction from intended,” says Widmar. “So when you read a forecast for 5 million acres prevented, it doesn’t mean a 5 million reduction because a base number was already subtracted before the estimate in the WASDE.”

The next USDA number will be the June 28 planted acreage report, but even that will not be up to date. The survey is conducted during the first two weeks of June; decisions made in the final two weeks will be a blind spot for the report, Widmar points out.

Shift to beans?

Since soybeans have a later planting period, some analysts foresee the shift from corn to soybeans. But history doesn’t bear that out. Average prevent plant is 1.8% for corn and 1.2% for soybeans. Most often when one crop has higher prevented planting, both do. Click to view Widmar’s full report.

Other crops

Grain sorghum in the six reporting states is 69% planted, well behind the 81% that, on average, is planted by now. Kansas stands at 55% (average 71%); Nebraska 80% (94%); South Dakota 68% (84%).

Spring wheat planting is close to complete at 95% in the six states, just 2 percentage points behind average. South Dakota’s crop is 97% planted, also 2 points behind.

Winter wheat harvest is slow, with only 8% of the crop completed compared with a 20% average. The important Kansas crop is only 1% done, 11 points behind average. Nebraska and South Dakota farmers have not yet started wheat harvest, which is typical.

This week’s forecast for storms isn’t a harbinger of fast progress this week – and we are approaching the date when crops either get in the ground or go unplanted. It will take some time for the ending facts to be known.

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%.