Ag Weather Forum

Record-Slow Corn Planting in Eastern Midwest

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
During the next seven days, rainfall will be more limited in the northwest Midwest and Northern Plains while remaining quite active in the southern and eastern Midwest, Southern Plains, Delta and Southeast states. (DTN graphic)

Corn planting progress in the eastern Midwest is likely at record-slow levels in some areas.

Only one to three days were available for fieldwork in the Midwest during the past week. This has left corn and soybean planting on average over two to three weeks behind normal in the western Midwest and likely as much as a month or more behind normal in the east.

In Iowa, this is the slowest planting pace for corn since 1982 and for soybeans since 1993. The state that has fared well during the past week was North Dakota with six days available for fieldwork.

According to this week's USDA NASS Crop Progress report, as of June 2, corn planting stood at 81% in North Dakota, more than double the pace in Indiana and Ohio.

As DTN reported yesterday, corn planting was 67% complete nationally, up from 58% the previous week and behind the five-year average of 96%.

"Many in the trade had expected progress to show closer to 70-71% complete, in a range of 68% to 76%," said DTN Senior Analyst Dana Mantini.

Mantini then looked closer at the amount of corn planted versus the five-year average in some states.

"On corn seeding, some notable changes, especially in the Eastern Corn Belt, were Illinois, which was 45% done compared to the 98% average; Indiana 31% done versus the average of 94%; and Ohio 33% complete versus a 90% average. Iowa was 80% planted versus the normal pace of 99%, and Nebraska was 88% done versus 98%. South Dakota continued to lag at 44% planted versus an average of 96%," Mantini said. (See more on the crop progress report at…)

We see no end in sight to this wet pattern. What we do see is some shifting of the wettest areas. During the next seven days, rainfall will be more limited in the northwest Midwest and Northern Plains while remaining quite active in the southern and eastern Midwest and Southern Plains. Rainfall will also become more active in the Delta and Southeast states, where they actually need the rain.

Unfortunately, this rainfall distribution will keep the areas that are furthest behind in planting under wet conditions. 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.

The fall weather pattern will be very important this year due to the late plantings. An early freeze could have a major impact on what will be significant amounts of immature crops.

I have noticed that we seem to be in a pattern of displaced seasons. Each season seems to start later than what we would consider normal. If this pattern holds, it would mean an extended growing season in the Midwest. From a climatological perspective, the areas that are furthest behind in planting (eastern Midwest) are the last to receive their first freeze.

Spring wheat planting in the Northern Plains is making progress and should be finishing up soon.

Wet weather is expected to continue in the Southern Plains winter wheat areas, increasing disease pressure and lowering crop quality. We were surprised to see an uptick in ratings this week. However, we did notice a reduction of 9 percentage points in the good-to-excellent category in Oklahoma. This is likely indicative of the impact of excessive rain on a maturing crop. We would expect to see this begin to affect Kansas in the next week or two.

Michael Palmerino can be reached at



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