Ready, Set, GROW!

In Farming, USDA by Cindy

emerging cornThe first USDA crop progress report counting the corn emerged so far this year is out and the number is just one short of double digits.

That’s still almost a full one-tenth of the crop already breaking ground and soaking up the sunshine, like the plants in these photos taken at a field along I-70 in Missouri over the weekend. That’s a full 7 percent more than last year and the five year average. Pretty amazing.

emerging cornPlanting progress is even more amazing, with 28 percent of the crop in the ground, compared to 15% normal for this time of year. How about some of these numbers? Tennessee is leading the pack with 88% planted, twice the average. North Carolina has 79% and Kentucky is at 75%. Okay, so those are Southern states, but the Midwest is no less impressive – maybe even more so. Illinois has 59% planted, Missouri is up to half the crop in the ground and Indiana growers are getting near that halfway point with 46% done. Compare that with the averages for this time of year – Illinois 17%, Missouri 27% and Indiana just 10% – and yeah, that is amazing.

I talked with a couple of growers earlier this month, one in southwest Missouri and one in northern Indiana and both already had gotten quite a bit of corn in the ground. Kip Tom of Indiana had 45% planted as of April 12 and Kip Cullers of Missouri said he had been planting “for 12 straight days and never shut the planters off.” That was April 10 and he already had corn emerging at that time.

Normally at this time of year, less than half of the states have any corn emerged, but this year right now only five have no little sprouts to report. Illinois and Missouri are over 20% emerged and Indiana has 10% up.

While 16 of the 18 major corn producing states are running ahead of normal in planting, there are a couple of notable exceptions – one of them being Iowa. Only 9% of the Iowa corn crop is in the ground, compared to 16% average. But they are ahead of last year when it was only 3%. The only other state running behind is Minnesota, just a percentage point behind normal, but that’s 11% more than last year at this time when none was planted.

Never can tell what kind of weather surprises may be in store later this year, but it’s nice to see the season get off to such a great start! A good start is half the race won.