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Planting Pace Remains Below Average

Reviewing Acres Remaining to be Planted

Market Intel / May 1, 2018

USDA’s April 30, 2018, Crop Progress report revealed that the pace of plantings for a variety of crops remains below prior-year levels. During the last week, farmers planted 10.6 million acres of corn, 2.7 million acres of soybeans, 269,000 acres of cotton, and 884,000 acres of spring wheat.

As of the week ending April 29, nearly 15 million acres of corn had been planted in the U.S. Up from the prior-week’s 5 percent planted, this total represents 17 percent of the 88 million acres corn growers are expected to plant this year. This week’s planting progress is in line with the average trade estimate of 18 percent complete, but remains below the 5-year average of 27 percent planted.

Many of the Southern states have nearly completed the corn plantings, but U.S. farmers still need to plant 73 million acres in the coming weeks. Figure 1 shows the corn acres remaining to be planted as of the week ending April 29, 2018.  

Soybean plantings currently stand at 4.4 million acres and represent 5 percent of the 90 million acres U.S. growers are expected to plant in 2018. The pace of plantings is in line with the 5-year acreage but was below the average trade estimate of 7 percent. With plenty of time left in the planting season, in the coming weeks, U.S. farmers are expected to plant another 84.5 million acres. Figure 2 shows the soybean acres remaining to be planted as of the week ending April 29, 2018.  

Planting of spring wheat currently stands at 1.3 million acres and represents 10 percent of the 12.6 million acres growers are expected to plant this year. The pace of planting was below the average trade estimate of 12 percent and is well below the 5-year average of 37 percent planted. Across the Pacific Northwest and Upper Midwest, 11.4 million acres remain to be planted. Figure 3 shows the spring wheat acres remaining to be planted as of the week ending April 29, 2018.  

Cotton planting progress is slightly below the 5-year average. As of April 29, U.S. growers had planted 1.6 million acres of cotton, representing 12 percent of the 13.5 million acres expected to be planted in 2018. In the coming weeks, U.S. farmers are expected to plant 11.9 million additional acres of cotton in the South. Figure 4 shows the cotton acres remaining to be planted as of the week ending April 29, 2018.  

Contact:
John Newton, Ph.D.
Chief Economist
(202) 406-3729
jnewton@fb.org
twitter.com/@New10_AgEcon
 

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