USDA crop progress: Corn plantings reach 17% completion

Pace remains three points behind the prior five-year average.

Ben Potter, Senior editor

April 26, 2021

2 Min Read
pouring seed into planter
iStock/Getty Images

Widespread snow throughout the central U.S. two weeks ago severely put the brakes on planting progress, but weather was more cooperative last week, allowing for some forward momentum, according to data from this afternoon’s newest crop progress report from USDA, covering the week through April 25.

Corn plantings reached 17% through Sunday, up from 8% a week ago and in line with analyst expectations. Planting speed is still slow relative to recent years, with the prior five-year average at 20% through the first three and a half weeks of April. Texas still leads the way among the top 18 production states, with 66% of the crop now in the ground. But seven states have still only made single-digit progress so far.

Three percent of the corn crop is now emerged, up from 2% a year ago and a point behind the five-year average of 4%. Just eight of the top 18 production states have made measurable progress in this maturity category, according to USDA.

Soybean plantings were also in line with analyst expectations, moving from 3% a week ago up to 8% through Sunday. That’s three points ahead of the prior five-year average of 5%. Mississippi (37%), Arkansas (26%) and Illinois (18%) have made the most inroads among the top 18 production states so far.

Spring wheat planting progress moved from 19% a week ago to 28% completion through Sunday, matching analyst expectations. Among the top six production states, Washington has made the most progress, at 80%. Minnesota sits on the lower end of the spectrum, with 19% of that state’s crop now in the ground. Seven percent of the nation’s 2021 crop is emerged.

For winter wheat, 17% of the crop is now headed, jumping from 10% a week ago but remaining moderately behind the prior five-year average of 23%. Only eight of the top 18 production states have seen any measurable movement into this maturity category for now.

Quality-wise, crop ratings dropped four points in the past week, with 49% now rated in good-to-excellent condition. Analysts were expecting to see a one-point deduction, in contrast. Another 32% of the crop is rated fair (up two points from last week), with the remaining 19% rated poor or very poor (also up two points from a week ago).

Click here to read the latest USDA crop progress report in its entirety.

Follow along with the season:

USDA crop progress: Corn plantings only at 4% 

USDA crop progress: Corn plantings slightly below expectations

About the Author(s)

Ben Potter

Senior editor, Farm Futures

Senior Editor Ben Potter brings two decades of professional agricultural communications and journalism experience to Farm Futures. He began working in the industry in the highly specific world of southern row crop production. Since that time, he has expanded his knowledge to cover a broad range of topics relevant to agriculture, including agronomy, machinery, technology, business, marketing, politics and weather. He has won several writing awards from the American Agricultural Editors Association, most recently on two features about drones and farmers who operate distilleries as a side business. Ben is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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