Market News & Headlines >> U.S. Farmers Make Considerable Planting Progress

After a slow start to the season, U.S. farmers are essentially caught up on planting in a variety of commodity crops, although progress remains stubbornly slow in the Upper Midwest.

Monday’s Crop Progress report from USDA showed that 59% of the corn crop was planted, up from 29% last week and the five-year average of 58%. A pre-report Reuters poll of analysts put the expected progress at 55%, with estimates ranging from 40% to 63%.

Most states are ahead of the average pace. However, Minnesota is only 31% planted, down from the five-year average of 62%, and North Dakota is only 3% planted, versus the average of 33%. Wisconsin and Michigan are also well behind.

Soybean planting was 20% done as of Sunday, a jump from just 5% the prior week and close to the five-year average of 21%. Analysts were on average expecting to see progress of 17%. As with corn, the areas lagging behind are generally above Interstate 90.

Thus it’s no surprise that spring wheat planting remains slow. Nationally, 34% of the crop is planted, up just 8 percentage points from the prior week and down from the five-year average of 53%. The western states are carrying most of the weight, with Idaho, Montana and Washington all near or beyond their typical pace. Minnesota, by contrast, is just 8% planted, versus the average of 53%. North Dakota is 11% planted, versus the average of 39%. South Dakota is 9 points behind its typical pace at 74%.

Meanwhile the winter wheat crop continues to deteriorate. USDA said 30% of the crop was rated good/excellent, down one percentage point from a week ago as traders were expecting. The portion of the crop rated poor/very poor jumped to 42%, up from 38% the prior week.

Southern cotton and rice growers made decent planting progress. Cotton was 30% planted, up from 16% and down from the five-year average of 34%.

Rice was 75% planted, up from 57% last week and the five-year average of 73%. Top rice-producer Arkansas was 82% planted, up from 64% the prior week and the average of 75%.