Corn planting makes strong gains, wheat improves

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — Planting of the U.S. corn crop was 78% completed as of May 13, up 25 percentage points from a week earlier and even with the 2002-06 average, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its latest weekly Crop Progress report.

The condition of the winter wheat crop was rated 58% good to excellent, up slightly from 57% a week earlier and far better than 36% a year ago, the U.S.D.A. said. Rated poor to very poor was 17% of the crop, compared with 18% a week earlier. The crop was 51% headed in the 18 major producing states, slightly behind 57% as the five-year average for the date.

The condition of the hard winter wheat crop in Kansas was rated 38% good to excellent, up from 37% a week earlier, with 32% rated poor to very poor, improved from 35% the previous week. Crop ratings in most other major hard winter wheat states improved slightly from a week earlier, except Colorado.

Harvest of the hard red winter crop was under way with the Texas Field Office of the U.S.D.A. reporting 1% of that state’s crop combined as of May 13. But harvest was still a week or more away in Oklahoma and about four weeks away in Kansas.

Condition ratings for the soft winter wheat crop were mixed. Good to excellent ratings improved from a week earlier in Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio, declined in Arkansas and Michigan and were unchanged in Indiana. Rated poor to very poor was 53% of the crop in Missouri and 60% in Arkansas, the U.S.D.A. said.

Planting of the corn crop benefited from several days of dry weather in the Corn Belt. The progress was more than traders expected. The crop was 39% emerged in the 18 major growing states, just ahead of 36% as the average.

Corn planting as of May 13 in top-producing Iowa was 77% completed (87% as average), Illinois 93% (83%), Indiana 78% (63%), Minnesota 88% (84%), and Nebraska 73% (79%).

Soybean planting in the 18 major states was 32% completed as of May 13, up from 10% a week earlier and just ahead of 31% as the five-year average. Six per cent of the soybeans had emerged.

Spring wheat planting in the six major producing states was 87% completed as of May 13, up from 68% a week earlier and ahead of 74% as the five-year average. The crop was 51% emerged, ahead of 43% as the average. The spring wheat crop was rated 79% good to excellent and 20% fair, the U.S.D.A. said.

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