Ag Weather Forum

Slow Corn Planting Progress in Midwest

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
Butterweeds, such as this field in Macon County, Illinois, have gotten an earlier start on crop fields this year as farmers have struggled to find enough good weather to plant their corn. (DTN photo by Pamela Smith)

It's been another disappointing week for planting in the Midwest. Fieldwork was limited to one to two days. According to the USDA Weekly Crop Progress report released May 28, the Iowa planting progress at 76% is the smallest amount on May 26 since 1995 when 75% of the crop was planted by this date. Corn planting progress is running two weeks behind normal in both Iowa and Minnesota and likely more than that in Illinois, where only 35% of the crop was planted versus a normal of 95%.

Indiana and Ohio also are showing especially slow progress. Indiana, with 22% of corn planted, is lagging significantly behind the previous year (94%) and five-year average (85%) completion rate. As of May 26, Indiana's planting progress "inched along amid another week of excessive rain," the USDA report said, showing that state had only had 1.8 days suitable for fieldwork, but did increase from only 14% planted as of the prior week.

As for Ohio, USDA's reported some producers pushed through wet conditions, but with only 2.7 days suitable for fieldwork, increased to 22% of the corn in the ground compared to 9% the prior week. This compares with 80% of the corn planted by May 26 in 2018, and the five-year average of 78%. (See more on crop progress at…)

The Midwest influences the bigger picture. An estimated 58% of the nation's corn was planted as of May 26, compared to 49% the prior week and still well-behind the five-year average of 90%.

Planted acreage is very uncertain this year due to a variety of reasons. We may not know for sure where things stand until mid to late June.

We see little change in this wet pattern for the Midwest during the next seven days. There are some hints today of less rainfall in the eight- to 15-day period. However, this is a long-range forecast and highly subject to significant day-to-day changes.

It is becoming more obvious by the day that the fall weather pattern will be very important this year because of the late plantings. An early freeze could have a major impact on what will be significant amounts of immature crops.

Spring wheat planting in the Northern Plains is making progress with percentage rates now mostly in the 80s when they should be in the 90s. With rainfall expected to be limited during the next seven days, producers may be able to finish up.

Wet weather is expected to continue in the Southern Plains' winter wheat areas. This increases disease pressure and lowers crop quality. We have noticed a drop-off in ratings this week with Kansas down by 5 percentage points in the good-to-excellent category. This wet weather will begin to have an impact on the early harvest if it continues much longer.

Michael Palmerino can be reached at



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