A record level—31 million acres—of corn is unplanted. As of June 2, USDA reports, 67% of the country’s estimated 92.8 million corn acres have been planted. The five-year average for corn planting progress in early June is 96% complete.
At this point on the calendar, all major-corn producing states should be at least 80% to 90% complete, per USDA’s historical averages.
How far behind are the major corn-producing states? Based on the corn acre estimates for each state in the March 2019 Prospective Plantings report and the most-recent Crop Progress report, the “I” states, Ohio and South Dakota have the most total acres left to plant.
“The planting pace in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota are all at historically slow rates, leaving millions of acres unplanted,” he says. “The current pace combined with other variables like weather and insurance-based economics should force the USDA to adjust their planted/harvest acres figures and the yield estimated in the June WASDE.”
The question now is: How many of the 31 million acres originally planned for corn will actually be planted with corn?
“Even by the end of June, we’re not going to know what the planted acreage is,” Vaclavik says. “I don’t think farmers are totally sure of what kind of decisions they are going to make at this point. Do they keep planting into mid-June? Do they take prevent plant?”
A recent Farm Journal Pulse poll shows 34% of corn growers plan to file for prevent plant payments on at least some of their acres in 2019. Less than half (45%) of the 1,017 growers surveyed, said they do not plan to file for any prevent plant payment, while 21% remain undecided as the deadline looms.
A lot of farmers are on the fence about prevent plant, Vaclavik says.
“I don’t know that the Board has done enough to discourage prevent plant,” he says. “Dec corn at $4.47 and Nov beans at $9.14—are those prices good enough to discourage prevent plant? We have a massive unknown in regards to U.S. acreage.”