Dicey U.S. corn planting weather to continue

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Better corn planting weather is seen for the next week to 10 days in the U.S. Midwest but conditions will be less than ideal with widespread rains expected to surface beginning Wednesday and continue into the weekend, an agricultural meteorologist said on Tuesday.

"The best window is the next day or two, then they will have to wait until next week...not the best of conditions but not a disaster either," said John Dee, meteorologist for Global Weather Monitoring.

Dee said from 0.50 inch to 1.00 inch of rain could be expected in the Midwest from Wednesday through Saturday with lighter amounts in the far north.

Drier and warmer weather is expected Saturday through "a good chunk of next week," he said. But "it's hard to imagine at this point that they will get 50 percent of the crop planted by May 15th."

Stalled by rain and late-season snow in the last week, U.S. farmers had planted just 12 percent of their intended corn acres as of Sunday, the slowest pace since 1984, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a weekly report on Monday.

Soybean planting was 2 percent complete by Sunday, tied with 1983 and 1993 for the second-slowest place by early May, following the 1984 record of 1 percent.

The five-year average for planting progress at this time of year is 47 percent for corn and 12 percent for soybeans.

Producers working fields in the heart of the U.S. Corn Belt were interrupted by storms at mid-week.

Seeding progress fell short of trade expectations, including a Reuters poll of 14 analysts ahead of USDA's report that pegged corn planting at 15 percent complete.

Chicago Board of Trade corn futures turned higher on Tuesday due to the lower-than-expected seedings pace. Late plantings of corn can trim production because the later sowings pushes the vulnerable pollination or reproduction stage of growth into July which is usually the hottest month of the year.

Late planted corn also can be harmed by an early freeze in late summer or early fall. (Additional reporting by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)


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