WASHINGTON — Springtime in the U.S. Corn Belt has had it all this year. Blizzard conditions, high winds, flooding rains, flooded rivers and more. As such, it’s no big surprise that corn planting is off to a slower than normal start this year. As of April 21, only about 6 percent of the nation’s corn crop had been planted, down from 12 percent average but very similar to last year’s 5 percent. State by state progress also rather closely mimics the start of last season. Key producers such as Iowa, Illinois and Indiana are just getting planting with 1 percent, 1 percent and 4 percent completion thus far, respectively. Illinois’ five-year average planting pace is 17 percent by this time of year, but as last year showed us, as long as the weather cooperates, farmers can catch up pretty quickly.
Over the next seven days, rainfall is expected to trend above normal across much of the Corn Belt, but especially more eastern states like Indiana and Ohio. More central states like Kansas and portions of neighboring states could miss the above normal precipitation and see some very favorable conditions for fieldwork. However, just because the seven-day period trends wetter than normal overall, it doesn’t mean every day will be rainy.
As we head toward the weekend, cooler than normal temperatures are also expected to return to much of the U.S. Corn Belt. By Saturday, temperatures from Iowa to Pennsylvania and Michigan to Tennessee are forecast to trend generally 5-10F below normal. These colder trends could expand by Sunday with much of the Northwestern, Central and Northeastern U.S. trending below normal. Some areas of the Corn Belt could see conditions 10-15F below normal and a widespread portion could see low temperatures nearing freezing. High temperatures on Sunday in the Corn Belt will generally be in the 40s and 50s. Colder than normal trends are expected to hang around through at least the middle of next week as well.
Down in Brazil, rains have continued to benefit the country’s safrinha corn crop. Main producer Mato Grosso is expecting a favorable crop this year as most of the crop was planted during the ideal window and rains have continued through the season thus far. Acreage in the state is estimated to have increased by about 7 percent from last year and current estimates for statewide production stand around 29.3 million tons with yields expected to be around 95.3 bu/ac.
Areas that have been dry recently received rains as well, including parts of western Parana and in Mato Grosso do Sul. Parana safrinha corn is rated as 95 percent in good condition with 3 percent already matured; 31 percent of the crop is filling grain, another 26 percent is pollinating and the remaining 40 percent is in vegetative development. Rains over the next 14 days are forecast to trend above normal for much of Brazil which would be beneficial for continued health of the crop. In southern Brazil, full season corn is still being harvested. The risk for safrinha corn crops in the south during this time of year is the chance for frost impacting the crops before they reach maturity. Short-term forecasts do not show the potential for frost in the next couple weeks.
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