U.S. farmers dodged rain showers and took advantage of a few warm days to push corn planting to 29%, with the biggest gains in Nebraska, Missouri and Indiana, USDA said on Monday.
The 29% topped last year's 11% pace, but trailed the 42% five-year average. Planting this spring has consistently trailed the average pace because of cold weather and frequent rain showers.
Soybean planting advanced to 5%, up slightly from 3% the week before, but down from the 11% average.
"Planting progress was even slower last week than I expected, and I didn't expect much," said Bryce Knorr, senior grain analyst at Farm Futures. "Look for growers to be pushing this week before the rains return, perhaps adding another 25% to the amount of corn I the ground."
The corn crop will get in, but the slow pace should keep the total from growing much beyond the 91.7 million acres USDA projected at the end of March, Knorr said.
"This was the third consecutive week with above normal precipitation for Iowa, however the northwest and southwest corners of the state have continued to lag normal during this time period," Iowa's state report said.
In Iowa, the largest corn producer, 23% of the crop was planted, up 8% for the week. The average was 50% and a year ago 7% was planted
Iowa soybeans were 1% planted, compared with the 8% average.
In Illinois, the number two corn state, 43% of the crop was planted, surpassing the 41% average and an improvement from 32% the prior week.
Nebraska corn planting surged to 44%, up 24% for the week to nearly match the 45% average.
Indiana corn was 20% planted, up from the prior week's 8%. The average was 34%. Soybeans were 3% planted versus the 14% average.
Seven percent of the country's corn had emerged, with most of in the central and southern areas, up from 3% the prior week, but behind the 13% average.
Winter wheat still struggling
Winter wheat deteriorated to 31% good to excellent, 31% fair and 38% poor to very poor, from the prior week's 33%, 33%, 34%, respectively. A year ago, the crop was 39% poor to very poor.
Overall, 29% was headed, with Kansas, the top wheat state, at 15%, Oklahoma 81%, and Texas 59%. A crop tour through Kansas last week found the headed wheat much shorter than normal, which could make it difficult to harvest. The tour also estimated the drought-ravaged crop would produce 260.7 million bushels, which would be the smallest for Kansas since 1996.
"The biggest news by far from the report was the severe deterioration in the hard red winter wheat crop," said Knorr.
Ratings fell sharply from Nebraska to Texas, chopping 32 million bushels off production, said Knorr, who trimmed his hard red winter wheat estimate to 809 million bushels, with total winter wheat production at 1.408 billion bushels.
"The only saving grace for wheat may be the slow pace of development in Kansas, where just 15% was headed before severe heat," he said.
Soft red winter wheat fared better with Illinois wheat 62% good to excellent, Indiana's 63%, and Ohio's 50%.
Spring wheat was 26% planted and 7% emerged, versus the averages of 41% and 17%. Wet, cool conditions slowed spring wheat planting in North Dakota, the top producer, with 5% planted, compared with the 28% average.
Cotton planting advanced to 16% from the previous week's 13%, but trailed the 25% average. California and Arizona remained the leaders at 95% and 70%, while Louisiana was at 47%.
Oats were 40% planted and 19% emerged, compared with the averages of 71% and 53%. Sorghum was 28% planted versus the 29% average and rice was 57% planted and 39% emerged versus the 65% and 47% averages.