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Grain, Soybean Planting Accelerates on Drier U.S. Weather

U.S. farmers accelerated corn, soybean and wheat planting last week after drier weather firmed soils to support heavy machinery used in fieldwork.

About 87 percent of the corn crop was sown as of yesterday, up from 71 percent a week earlier and 56 percent a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. The average for the previous five years is 66 percent.

An estimated 56 percent of the plants had emerged from the ground, compared with 32 percent a week earlier and 16 percent a year earlier, the USDA said. The average for the prior five years was 28 percent.

“Growers last week made good progress toward finishing up with planting,” Gail Martell, the president of in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, said in a report today. “The new weather forecast is favorable for planting and seed germination.”

The report was issued after the close of trading on the Chicago Board of Trade, where corn futures for July delivery rose 0.3 percent to settle at $5.83 a bushel. The most-active contract has dropped 9.8 percent this year, partly on speculation that rapid U.S. planting will boost yields.

Domestic corn production will jump 20 percent to a record 14.79 billion bushels as farmers plant the most acres since 1937, and yields will expand to a record 166 bushels an acre, the USDA May 10.

Large Harvest

“Conditions are in place for a very large U.S. corn harvest, a return to a more abundant stocks situation, and a return to lower prices,” Darrel Good, an agricultural economist at the University of Illinois said in a report earlier today. “The magnitude of these changes is still to be determined and will unfold over an extended period.”

About 46 percent of the soybean crop was planted as of yesterday, compared with 24 percent a week earlier and the previous five-year average of 24 percent, the USDA said. An estimated 16 percent of the crop had emerged from the ground, up from 5 percent on average the prior five years.

About 94 percent of the spring-wheat crop was seeded as of yesterday, up from 84 percent a week earlier, the department said. The average for the date for the previous five years is 64 percent. Plant emergence rose to 68 percent, compared with 32 percent on average during the prior five years, the agency said.

The winter-wheat crop was in worse shape than a week ago as adverse weather stressed crops from Kansas to Indiana, USDA data showed. An estimated 60 percent of the crop was in good or excellent condition, compared with 63 percent a week earlier, the USDA said. About 33 percent of the plants got the top ratings a year earlier.

Cotton planting was 48 percent completed, compared with 36 percent a week earlier and 39 percent, on average, the prior five years, the USDA said. Rice seeding in the top six producing states was 80 percent completed, up from 77 percent a week earlier and the average of 77 percent from 2007-2011.

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