Planting at a Furious Pace

Cindy ZimmermanAg Leader, Farmers, Planting, USDA

Thanks to the latest farming technology, farmers were able to make amazing planting progress last week, finally starting to catch up to where they should be at this time of year.

agleader-planterAccording to the latest crop progress report, over 70 percent of projected corn acres had been planted as of last Sunday, while only 28 percent were planted a week prior. While progress lagged behind the five-year average by 37 points last week, the rapid progress closed the gap to only nine points.

Illinois farmers jumped from just 17% planted the week ending May 12 to 74% on May 19, just 3% less than the five year average. “Everybody here is feverishly working,” National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Chairman Garry Niemeyer of Auburn, Illinois told me on Friday as he was busy playing catch up on planting progress. While it has been the longest cold, wet spring that he can remember, Garry says it has really warmed up in the Midwest and he expects the corn to “come flying out of the ground” now.

Planting progress in Iowa increased by 56% from May 12 to 71% on May 19. “Farmers have the technology and the drive to accomplish more in a week than we could have in three only a few decades ago,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson, a grower in Iowa. “Last week, we knew that we needed a week of drier, warmer weather and, throughout much of the Corn Belt, we got just that.”

Minnesota corn planting progressed by 52 points last week, while Kansas, Michigan, Missouri Nebraska and North Dakota all increased planting progress by more than 40 points. Emergence however is still lagging well behind normal with just 19% emerged nationwide, compared to the 46% average.