US farmers are beginning to fall behind on planting of spring crops. As of April 22, the US planted just five percent of the intended corn area for 2018. For this time of year, this is nine percent behind the five-year average. Iowa and Illinois are running 11 and 16 percent behind their five-year averages, respectively. Minnesota, typically having sown 13 percent of its corn by now, has yet to plant a single acre. Snow covered most of southern Minnesota, where a majority of the state’s corn is grown, as recently as April 22.
A prolonged winter across the Upper Midwest could potentially impact spring wheat acres in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. This trio accounted for 73 percent of US spring wheat production in 2017. Based on five-year averages, those three states should have already planted 1.76 million acres, but have only sown 21,000 acres as of April 22. The US as a whole has planted just three percent of its spring wheat, the least at this juncture since 1981. Farmers in Minnesota and the Dakotas prefer to plant spring wheat by the end of April to optimize yield, and commonly switch to corn or soybeans when that’s not feasible.
The Weather Prediction Center forecasts dry and seasonable temperatures across most of the Midwest for the upcoming week. The final days of April will signal how many farmers stick with spring wheat rather than opting for corn or soybeans. Gro Intelligence subscribers can monitor US spring crops’ planting progress data prior to the May 10th release of the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report.