WASHINGTON — Following a very sluggish start to corn planting thanks to a cold and snowy April, planting has been making great strides in playing catch-up. As of May 6, 39 percent of the corn crop had been planted across the US, up from 17 percent the previous week, and now trailing the 5-year average by only 5 percent. Taking advantage of a warm and mostly drier than normal week, multiple states saw great week-over-week improvement in planting progress. Illinois had the largest improvement in corn planting from the previous week, planting just over 40 percent of the crop in that 7-day period. This significant progress jumped statewide corn planting from only 32 percent at the end of April to just shy of three quarters complete. Corn planting is now about 18 percent ahead of the 5-year average and 9 percent ahead of last year’s pace. Indiana’s 34 percent week-over-week planting progress was the second largest this past week. Total planting in the state is now 42 percent complete and 9 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Missouri and Texas are the only others to be ahead of their state’s respective five-year average planting pace.
While the cold and snowy start to spring impacted much of the Corn Belt, states furthest north saw the greatest delays. Minnesota and the Dakotas were the only states to have no corn planted by the end of April. Although these states were finally able to start planting, progress as of May 6th was not nearly as impressive as other states across the Corn Belt. Minnesota planted 9 percent of the state’s crop, down 35 percent from the typical 5-year average pace of 44 percent. North Dakota was 7 percent completes, down 17 percent from the 5-year average of 24 percent. South Dakota planted about 6 percent of their corn, trailing the state’s 5-year average by 27 percent.
Conditions so far this week have continued to be favorable for field work and planting progress across the Corn Belt. Through the weekend, however, temperatures across the northern Corn Belt are expected to take a turn for the cooler, bringing with it the threat for frost, especially from Minnesota to Michigan. Areas from Nebraska to southern Wisconsin are expected to receive rain and possibly some storms tomorrow, with the rains heading toward the eastern Corn Belt over the weekend. Some showers could also linger across Iowa through the weekend. Forecasts for next week, while still warmer than normal across the US, could take a turn for the wetter for many. Current outlooks show that states such as North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan could still trend drier than normal while surrounding states receive above normal rainfall.
The end of May could also see some above normal rainfall across the Corn Belt. Taking into account both actual weather for the first part of the month, and forecasts for the remainder of the month, May 2018 for the Corn Belt as a whole is projected to trend the 3rd warmest and 5th wettest in the last 27+ years. While trends can and do vary state by state and location to location, most Corn Belt states are expected to see a warmer and wetter May than last year.
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