Challenges exist to winter wheat, timely spring planting
Cold soil temperatures, widespread rains, and as much as 15-18 inches of snow cover are not conducive to planting in the Corn Belt. Subsequently, only 2 percent of the US corn crop has been planted, as of April 15. That compares to 16 percent at this time in 2012, but last spring was a polar opposite of 2013.
While Texas corn growers have more than half of their crop planted, North Carolina is 28 percent planted. Tennessee is the only other state in double digits with 11 percent.
When it comes to the 12 primary Corn Belt states, tally that region at 1 percent planted. A year ago over 12 percent of the Corn Belt was planted with corn. The USDA released its first weekly Crop Progress report on April 15, and details follow.
In addition to the initial report on corn planting, the USDA provided an overview of the US winter wheat crop. Nationally, an average of 4 percent of the wheat is headed at this time, compared to 28 percent last year, and 12 percent for the five year average.
Currently, 31 percent of the crop is rated poor to very poor, with 34 percent fair and 36 percent good to excellent, with only 5 percent in the latter category.
In 2012, only 11 percent was poor to very poor and 64 percent was good to excellent. In severe condition is the South Dakota crop at 73 percent poor to very poor. In serious condition are the crops in Nebraska and Texas where 50 percent of the crop is poor to very poor condition.
Also reporting a substantial amount of wheat in poor to very poor condition are Colorado at 42 percent, Oklahoma and Ohio at 37 percent and Kansas with 33 percent of the crop in that condition. Spring wheat planting is negligible at this point, which is usually 13 percent based on the five year average. None has been planted in Minnesota or North Dakota and only 6 percent in South Dakota.
At this time last year, half to three-quarters of the spring wheat had been planted in those states.
Cool, wet weather was the main story throughout much of the state last week. With only 1.5 days suitable for fieldwork last week, not much fieldwork was completed. A few operations were able to start planting corn but most were forced out of the fields by rain early in the week. Topsoil moisture was rated at 1 percent very short, 4 percent short, 70 percent adequate, and 25 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated at 4 percent very short, 17 percent short, 75 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus. Cold soil temperatures are another factor delaying a strong start to corn planting.