US corn planting lag hopes, wheat plantings unchanged at 3%: USDA

24.04.2018

Corn planting across 18 main US states continues to lag both previous year’s progress and analysts’ expectations in the week ending April 22, according to data from the USDA’s weekly crop plantings report.

Bad weather across many of the states, with heavy rain in the Mississippi Delta and snow still in the upper Midwest, means plantings are lagging well behind both for corn and spring wheat.

The market had expected US corn plantings to reach 6-7%, but came in at an underwhelming 5% – ten percentage points behind the same point of 2017 and nine behind the five-year average.

For spring wheat, plantings across six main states has held unchanged at 3% week-on-week, despite Idaho seeing its progress jump from 24% to 40%.

Minnesota, Montana and North Dakota are still to start planting, according to the data, with the latter two states among the top four producers of wheat in the US.

Winter wheat conditions were also largely unchanged week-to-week, with overall excellent condition adding one percentage point to 6%, while 37% of all US winter wheat production remains in the ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ category – versus 13% last year.

Soybean planting data also appeared for the first time, with the 2% progress matching the five year average, although major players like Iowa and Illinois are yet to start.

Sorghum plantings continue to match last year’s pace and the five-year average across 11 key states, with 24% of the crop now in the ground – despite uncertainty swirling around the destination for US sorghum exports in the wake of China’s decision to levy a hefty deposit on its US imports.

Finally, barley planting also remains well behind last year’s planting rate, with only two of the five main states making any planting progress.

At 11%, barley planting is at just a third of the five year average for this point of the year – with emerged barley at 2%, versus the average of 7%.

The USDA is forecasting wheat production of 1.7 billion bushels, 364 million sorghum bushels and 142 million bushels of barley.

Corn and soybeans are expected to come in at 14.6 billion bushels and 4.3 billion bushels respectively.


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