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Crop Watch: Strong planting last week though not all hands on deck -Braun

(The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a market analyst for Reuters.)

By Karen Braun

NAPERVILLE, Ill., May 16 (Reuters) – Last week was the busiest yet for spring planting among the U.S. Crop Watch producers, but not everyone was going full speed.

Fifteen of 22 subject fields are now planted, including eight within the last week. That included corn in Nebraska, western Illinois and both Iowa locations, and soybeans in eastern Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Minnesota.

Crop Watch follows 11 corn and 11 soybean fields across nine U.S. states from planting through harvest. This is the fifth year for the project and participating producers will offer their thoughts weekly through harvest.

Cold, wet weather has delayed U.S. planting this year and only 22% of corn was planted as of May 8, the second-slowest for the date in more than 25 years. A heat wave last week was expected to significantly lift progress, though reports from the Crop Watch producers are variable.

The producers in eastern Iowa and western Illinois reported especially quick progress, and the eastern Iowa pace was considered “blazing” and like nothing the grower had ever seen. “Frenzied” was used to describe planting in western Illinois.

Producers in Minnesota, western Iowa, Ohio and Indiana also reported fast progress in the last week, though not necessarily more than expected. Planting pace in southeastern Illinois was decent though many area farmers were still waiting for fields to dry despite the warm weather.

The Crop Watch producers in South Dakota and Nebraska reported stop-and-go progress in their areas with some mid-week rains. Almost nothing was done last week around the North Dakota Crop Watch location.

The North Dakota producer says that growers in the area are now looking for shorter season corn seeds and even soybean seeds as a replacement, since planting will be later. He plans to cut his personal corn acres by 30% at this point and could see a scenario where 20% of his acres are prevented from planting since soils are so wet.

However, weather may be opening for North Dakota as the producer notes fieldwork will start in a big way on Monday, trying to beat rains scheduled for later in the week.

Most of the other Crop Watchers said planting for the week ahead could be interrupted as rains are likely on at least one day. Crop Watch fields that still await planting are both North Dakota and Ohio fields, corn in Indiana, and soybeans in South Dakota and western Iowa.

Crops have emerged quickly with the warm temperatures this past week. Corn that was planted a week ago in Minnesota, western Illinois and eastern Iowa has already emerged. Last year, cool weather prevented corn in Minnesota from emerging for three weeks.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday afternoon will update national planting progress as of Sunday, and analysts are looking for corn to be 49% completed and soybeans 29% completed versus 22% and 12% a week earlier, respectively.

The five-year average for the date is 67% for corn and 39% for soy. Only 5% of the U.S. corn crop was emerged as of May 8 versus 15% on average.

The following are the states and counties of the 2022 Crop Watch corn and soybean fields: Griggs, North Dakota; Kingsbury, South Dakota; Freeborn, Minnesota; Burt, Nebraska; Rice, Kansas; Audubon, Iowa; Cedar, Iowa; Warren, Illinois; Crawford, Illinois; Tippecanoe, Indiana; Fairfield, Ohio. Karen Braun is a market analyst for Reuters. Views expressed above are her own. (Editing by Matthew Lewis)


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