Prospects for timely planting of the 2014 corn crop
click image to zoom The second factor that will determine the prospects for completing planting by May 20 is the likely rate of planting per suitable day of field work. In previous posts here and here we examined in some detail the historical corn planting rates in Illinois per suitable field day. Calculations were made for the average rate of corn planting per suitable day up to 90 percent planting progress and the rate of planting per suitable field day in the peak week of planting over 1970-2013. Those calculations are shown in Figures 1 and 2. As might be expected, planting rates per suitable field day varied from year to year and were also higher during the peak week of planting presumably when the most producers were planting. In addition, the planting rate during the peak week of planting, increased slightly over time. These results do not provide a specific answer to what rate of planting per suitable day to expect in 2014, but they are useful in establishing some likely alternatives to consider. For example, the average planting rate up to 90 percent planting progress was near 5 percent per suitable day, with little trend over time. In recent years this average rate has moved in a fairly narrow range, about 4 to 6 percent. The trend value for the planting rate during the peak week of planting is about 7.6 percent for 2014, but was near 10 percent in 2013. Based on this analysis, we evaluate three alternative average planting rates to assess the likelihood of timely planting in 2014: 5, 7, and 9 percent per suitable day.
click image to zoom Since 32 percent of corn acreage in Illinois and 19 percent in the 18 major corn producing states have been planted, 68 percent of the Illinois crop and 81 percent of the U.S. crop needs to be planted over the next three weeks in order to have zero planted late. For the three planting rate alternatives, 14, 10, and 8 suitable days, respectfully would be required in Illinois and 16, 12, and 9 days, respectively would be required in the U.S. (rounded to the nearest whole day). The probability of the number of suitable days being less than the required days for zero late planting is shown in Table 2 (rounded to nearest whole percentage). The probabilities are drawn directly from Table 1.
click image to zoom Based on the historic distribution of suitable days for field work, there is a relatively high probability that some corn acreage will be planted late in Illinois and particularly in the U.S. in 2014 unless the average planting rate per suitable field day over the next three weeks exceeds the average historic rate and is near the rate normally achieved only in the peak week of planting. Even in this latter case, there is more than a 25 percent chance that some of the U.S. corn crop would be planted late.
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