Crop Insurance Today Second Quarter 2019 - 7

Planting Progress

Spring planting began during a turbulent
weather environment as more than 140 tornadoes were reported along with two outbreaks
of severe thunderstorms. The stormy weather
affected most of the mid-South, lower Midwest,
and Deep South. Storms continued to be a disruption in the Ohio Valley and later in Louisiana,
Mississippi, and Texas. At the same time, multiple snow events were taking place in the North.
Despite the rocky start, by April 8, two percent
of the nation's corn crop had been planted and by
April 22, five percent was in the ground, only lag-

Planting Progress for Major Crops:
Figure 3 2018 vs 5-Year Average
100
90
80
70
Percent Acres Planted

West, the Sierra Nevada recorded precipitation
totals more than six inches above normal. At the
same time temperatures in March were cooler
than average for most of the country, but there
were pockets of above average temperatures in
the south-central United States. For example,
Texas experienced temperatures running about
3°F above average in the month of March.
Temperatures remained cooler than average in April across much of the country east of
the Rockies. Much cooler temperatures in the
upper Midwest, 9°F below normal, contributed
to delayed plantings in some areas. West of the
Rockies, warmer weather prevailed with mostly
above average temperatures for the month. Some
relief in the form of scattered showers helped
drought-stricken northern Texas and western
Oklahoma, but not enough to reverse the course
of their moisture problems. Mississippi and Alabama experienced heavy rains of seven inches
or more and wet conditions were also recorded
in northern Pacific Coastal areas. In the northern
Great Plains and Midwest, snowfall early in April
delayed the start of field work in some areas.
May was an unusual month characterized by
warm temperatures and erratic rainfall. According to the National Centers for Environmental
Information, May, 2018 was the nation's warmest
in its 124-year record period. Despite the warm
temperatures, beneficial rains fell in many areas
moderating existing drought conditions. Extreme wet weather was experienced in the middle and southern Atlantic States, causing delays
in fieldwork. Above normal rainfall was also recorded in the northern and central High Plains
as well as the Intermountain West. There were
of course, exceptions including the southern
High Plains and the Southwest, where ongoing
drought and hot conditions continued to stress
rangeland, pastures and rain-fed summer crops.

60
50
40
30
20
10
0

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

As of Week in 2018 (4/1 to 6/17)
Corn 5Yr Avg
Soy 5Yr Avg

2018 Corn
2018 Soy

2018 Cotton
2018 Spg Wheat

Cotton 5Yr Avg
SpgWht 5YR Avg

Source: USDA, National Agricultural Staticstics Service, Crop Progress Report

ging the five-year average by nine percent (Figure
3). Planting picked up by the end of the month
with 17 percent of the corn crop in the ground,
making progress but still lagging the five-year average by around 10 percent. Soybean planting got
off to a better start with two percent of the U.S.
crop planted by April 22, increasing to five percent by the end of the month, which was about
even with the 5five year average.
The cotton crop was being planted as well,
with 12 percent of the national crop planted by
the end of the month and 15 percent of the Texas crop in the ground, which was approximately
two percent behind the five-year average for the
nation, but two percent above the 5-year average
for Texas. Spring wheat farmers outside of Washington State were slow in planting with only 10
percent of the crop seeded by April 29, 26 percent
behind the five-year average. In contrast, Washington had 78 percent of its spring wheat acreage
planted, about even with the 5-year average for
the state.
Moving into May, less turbulent weather and
warm temperatures allowed plantings to progress
more rapidly. Corn plantings continued to lag
their five-year average but were advancing with
39 percent of the nation's crop planted. Finally,
by May 20, corn farmers caught up with the fiveyear average planting rate and had 81 percent of
the crop in the ground. By June 3, corn planting
was virtually finished with 97 percent of acreage
planted, slightly ahead of the five-year average.
Meanwhile soybean producers were running

slightly ahead of the five-year planting pace with
15 percent of the crop planted by May 6. Picking
up speed by May 20, 56 percent of the nation's
soybean acreage had been planted, some 12 percent ahead of the 5five year average rate and by
June 3, 87 percent of the soybean crop was planted, maintaining its lead over the five-year average
planting rate.
Cotton farmers planted 20 percent of the nation's cotton acreage by May 6, equal to the fiveyear average rate. By May 20, 52 percent of the
cotton crop was planted, ahead of the five-year
average rate by seven percent and by June 3, they
had planted 76 percent of the cotton acreage,
about equal to the five-year average pace. During
the same period spring wheat farmers were wasting no time getting the crop in the ground. By
May 6, 30 percent of acreage had been seeded,
still lagging the five-year average by 21 percent.
However, by May 20, 79 percent of the crop had
been planted, almost equal to the five-year average. By June 3, spring wheat planting was almost
complete, with 97 percent of the intended acreage planted, which was approximately three percent ahead of the five-year average.
At the end of the planting season, the United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported 322.1 million acres had been planted to
principal crops, an increase of three million acres
from 2017. Corn planted for all purposes was estimated at 89.1 million acres, down only one percent from last year. Soybean planted acreage was
89.2 million acres, also down one percent from
CROPINSURANCE TODAY®

7



Crop Insurance Today Second Quarter 2019

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http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/cint/may2016
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