Nebraska Corn Planting Progressing Well

Nebraska Corn Planting Progressing Well

May 8, 2009

Nebraska's corn harvest is progressing well. Below normal moisture for much of the first 4.5 months is allowing producers to make rapid progress with field preparation and planting. Progress across much of the remaining Corn Belt is not faring as well.

Planting Delayed in Much of Corn Belt

Table 1. Corn planting progress in the Corn Belt.
State
Percent Planted
5-Year
Average
 
May 4
April 27

Iowa

60
47
53

Minnesota

59
40
47

Nebraska

52
27
42

Kansas

32
22
57

Missouri

31
21
66

Wisconsin

17
3
25

Ohio

13
4
46

South Dakota

11
3
25

Illinois

5
4
66

Indiana

5
3
38

Michigan

5
3
38

North Dakota

0
0
29

In the eastern Corn Belt, one storm system after another has created havoc and in the northern Corn Belt producers continue to battle the aftermath of record to near record winter and spring snowfall. As of May 4, only 3 of the top 12 corn-producing states were ahead of their 5-year planting progress averages.

Nebraska stood at 52% complete, compared to the 5-year average of 42%. Iowa was at 60% complete and Minnesota stood at 59% complete, compared to 5-year averages of 53% and 47%, respectively. Within these three states, the greatest progress was confined to the southern third of Minnesota, the western two-thirds of Iowa, and the southeastern half of Nebraska.

States showing the greatest planting delays as of May 4 include North Dakota, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. North Dakota statistics indicate zero planting progress, while the remaining three states have only reached 5% completion. Based on 5-year averages, Illinois should be 66% complete by May 4, Indiana 47%, Ohio 46%, and North Dakota 29%.

North Dakota producers in the Red River Valley continue to face saturated soil conditions due to the winter/spring snow melt coupled with robust spring rains. If warm weather coupled with little moisture doesn't materialize over the next few weeks, most North Dakota producers may be required to enroll their acreage into preventative planting.

Eastern corn producers have been facing storm systems rolling through their region on 2- to 3-day intervals. Just as conditions begin to dry enough for planting, additional rainfall shuts down planting. It appears that this spring is mirroring the 2008 planting season and these delays will once again put producers in the precarious position of seeing their crops vulnerable to mid-season heat and the possibility of fall freeze damage if the growing season is cooler than normal.

Recent Precip and Soil Mositure Response

Closer to home, there has been an increase in moisture activity across the state, particularly in western Nebraska. Several significant moisture events in April have improved top soil moisture across the Panhandle and southwest and west central Nebraska. Recent storm activity during the past 10 days has blessed central, south central, and southeast Nebraska with enough moisture to eradicate surface dryness resulting from four months of below normal moisture.

Portions of east central Nebraska continue to miss out on the major precipitation events. Fortunately, generous moisture last October and December have established deep soil moisture reserves, but additional moisture is needed to recharge surface layers. This area is the most susceptible to drought if it doesn't receive several inches of moisture soon, before the emerging corn crop needs it.

Forecast

Analysis of current soil moisture values from the High Plains Regional Climate Center's monitoring network indicate that stored moisture is still ahead of record averages. During the next two weeks, weather models indicate the potential for significant moisture May 13-16. If this happens, surface dryness should be eliminated. Outside of this projected event, weaker systems will work across the region and provide opportunities for scattered showers and thunderstorms somewhere in the state every day or two.

Al Dutcher
State Climatologist