While it’s too early to spot a clear trend, corn planting is off to a better start this spring than one year ago, when widespread wet conditions delayed field work. Nationally, the USDA reports 19 percent of the crop planted in this week’s Crop Progress report. That compares with just 3 percent one week ago, 5 percent on April 18, 2009 and a five-year average of 9 percent for the date.

Naturally, planting is furthest along in southern states such as Texas and North Carolina at 70 percent and 63 percent planted respectively. Corn Belt farmers are making progress though, with Illinois reporting 34 percent planted, Indiana 17 percent and Iowa 19 percent.

Sorghum, at 23 percent planted is within a few percentage points of last year and the five-year average.

The winter wheat crop is generally in better condition than last year, with the agency reporting 65 percent in good or excellent condition nationally, compared with 43 percent one year ago. Just 6 percent of the crop rates poor or very poor, compared with 27 percent one year ago.

The full report is available on line.

Source: Drovers (sister publication of Dairy Herd Management)