Prospects for timely planting of the 2014 corn crop
click image to zoom Since zero late planting is rarely achieved, so that the probability of more than average late planting is probably a more meaningful calculation. For both Illinois (1960-2013) and the U.S. (1971-2013) an average of 15 percent of the corn crop has been planted late. To achieve less than average late planting, then, 53 percent of the Illinois crop and 66 percent of the U.S. crop needs to be planted over the next three weeks. For the three planting rate alternatives, 11, 8, and 6 suitable days, respectfully would be required in Illinois and 13, 9, and 7 days, respectively would be required in the U.S. The probability of suitable days being less than required, and late planting exceeding 15 percent, is shown in Table 3.
For Illinois, there is a low to moderate probability that more than the average percentage of the corn acreage will be planted after May 20 this year. On the other hand, there is a fairly high probability that more than the average percentage of the U.S. corn acreage will be planted after May 20, particularly if the average planting rate per suitable field day is near the historical average (5 percent).
The late start to the 2014 corn planting season and the relatively slow pace of planting progress to date increases the odds that more than the average percentage of the acreage will be planted late. For example, we calculate there is about a 60 percent chance that more than the average percentage of the U.S. corn acreage will be planted late (after May 20) if the average planting rate per suitable field day is near the historical average of 5 percent. A higher than average percentage of late-planted acreage would likely reduce expectations for the U.S. average corn yield. Extreme planting delays might also reduce expectations for the magnitude of acreage planted to corn. Based on current conditions and near term weather forecasts, planting progress in northern growing areas appears most likely to be delayed. The USDA's weekly Crop Progress reports released on Monday afternoon's will continue to provide clues about the potential magnitude of late plantings.