Crop progress: Planting pace slower than analyst expectations

Corn and soybean progress bests trade guesses in USDA report.

Ben Potter, Senior editor

May 17, 2023

2 Min Read
2-05-21 PlantingCorn-iStock-Getty Images-1148916177-800.jpg
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The latest crop progress data from USDA covering the week through May 14 showed both corn and soybean plantings are moving along more slowly than analysts were anticipating. Both crops are approaching or past the halfway mark and continue to near the finish line with each passing day. USDA didn’t change the percentage of winter wheat rated good or excellent, however – analysts were hoping for a one-point improvement.

Corn plantings moved from 49% a week ago up to 65% through May 14. Analysts were expecting to see a bit more progress, offering up an average trade guess of 68%. Still, 2023’s pace is far ahead of last year’s tally of 45% and remains six points above the prior five-year average of 59%. Missouri leads all of the top 18 production states, with 96%. North Dakota still has the furthest way to go, with 5%.

Corn emergence reached 30% through May 14, up from 12% a week ago. As with planting pace, this year is off to a hot start compared to 2022’s pace of 13% and the prior five-year average of 25%.

Soybean plantings reached 49% through Sunday, with analysts offering a slightly swifter average trade guess of 51%. But this year’s crop is still progressing much more quickly than 2022’s pace of 27% and the prior five-year average of 36%. Among the top 18 production states, progress has varied from 78% completion in Louisiana to 2% in North Dakota.

One-fifth of the 2023 crop is now emerged, up from 9% last week, and well ahead of 2022’s pace of 8% and the prior five-year average of 11%.

Other regional crops continued to make planting progress last week, including:

  • Cotton – 35% (up from 22% last week)

  • Sorghum – 28% (up from 24% last week)

  • Rice – 83% (up from 72% last week)

  • Peanuts – 37% (up from 17% last week)

  • Sugarbeets – 79% (up from 41% last week)

Winter wheat quality saw some shifts in lower-rated fields, but the percentage of the crop rated in good-to-excellent condition held steady, at 29%. Another 30% of the crop is now rated fair (up three points from last week), with the remaining 41% rated poor or very poor (down three points from last week). In Kansas, the No. 1 production state, just 10% of the crop is rated good or excellent.

Physiologically, nearly half (49%) of the crop is now headed, up from 38% a week ago and slightly ahead of 2022’s pace of 46% and the prior five-year average of 48%.

Spring wheat planting progress reached 40% through May 14, up from the prior week’s tally of 24% and two points ahead of the prior trade guess of 39%. This year’s pace is three points ahead of 2022 but noticeably behind the prior five-year average of 57%. Thirteen percent of the crop is emerged.

Click here to read more highlights from the latest UDSA crop progress report.

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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