May 14, 2012

Nebraska corn planting wrapping up

Farmers in Nebraska may mostly wrap up corn planting this week, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture said 91 percent of the state's crop is in the ground as of yesterday. That's well ahead of the five-year average of 76 percent planted by this date, which happens to be the same figure as last year's planting pace.

As for emergence, USDA said 57 percent of the state's crop had emerged, up from last year's 16 percent emerged and the average of 23 percent by this date.

Nationally, USDA said 87 percent of the crop was planted, up from 71 percent last week, 56 percent last year and the five-year average of 66 percent.0

Nine of the top 10 producing corn states are more than 90 percent planted. The lone exception is Minnesota, which is 88 percent planted, up from 42 percent last year and the five-year average of 76 percent planted.

Emergence across the country reached 56 percent, up from 32 percent last week, 16 percent last year and 28 percent for the five-year average.

All of this, of course, bodes well for yields – at least most fields have the potential to yield big this year. A year ago so many farmers had to replant or plant late, yield potential had fallen before the corn even had a chance to get out of the ground.

This potential is why USDA last week (.pdf) reported that U.S. corn farmers are on pace to shatter production, yield and supply records this year. USDA's early estimate is for a record production of 14.8 billion bushels with record average yields of 166 bushels per acre (2.0 bushels above trend).

If realized, that would create a total corn supply of 15.7 billion bushels, 2.2 billion higher than in 2011 and, yes, a record.

Of course all of that is just an early estimate – it is only mid-May after all. There's a lot of weather between now and October.

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