Similar to what we posted earlier for U.S. corn and soybeans, this graphic shows the percent of the U.S. spring wheat crop planted by May 19 going back to 1981 on the left hand axis.
For each year, we also show the percent that the final yield deviated from the 1981-2018 trend along with the percent that final plantings deviated from the farmer intention figures given at the end of March on the right hand axis.
The situation for spring wheat is far better than it is for corn or soybeans as the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains, where most of the spring wheat is sown, has not been as inundated with rains as has other parts of the Plains and the Corn Belt.
Hence, as of May 19, 70% of the U.S. spring wheat crop had been planted which is a big jump from the 45% the week prior though down from the year ago 76% and the five-year average of 80%.
A look at the data shows the correlation between plantings by May 19 and the percent that final yields deviated from the long-term trend at 12.0%, with the correlation between May 19 seedings and the change in seedings from the end of March prospective plantings report to the final crop production numbers an even lower 8.1%.
Looking back on those seasons where plantings were even tardier than 2019, the years 1995, 1996, 2011 and 2014 stand out.
In 1995, only 42% of the spring wheat was planted as of May 19, the lowest figure we have in our database with final yields 8.3% below trend and acreage off 7.5% or 1.37 million acres.
The following year had 46% seeded as of 5/19/96, final yields were 1.3% below trend yet final planted acreage was 14.6% or 2.55 mln above the intentions report.
2011 also saw seedings at 46% with yields off 10.3% and acreage down 14.1%.
Finally, just four years ago, plantings as of May 19 were 53% yet final yields were 7.8% above trend and seedings 8.5% higher.
It does appear that summer weather is the real key to yields as well as prices.
A high wheat price is more likely to keep a producer seeding the crop well past the optimal dates.
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