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AccuWeather predicts another historic low for corn planting as 'billion-dollar disaster' looms

By John Roach, AccuWeather staff writer
June 06, 2019, 4:29:32 PM EDT

Farm and corn flooding

In this May 29, 2019 photo, a field is flooded by waters from the Missouri River, in Bellevue, Neb. Thousands of Midwest farmers are trying to make decisions as they endure a spring like no other. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

AccuWeather predicts corn planting will remain at its record-low rate when the U.S. Department of Agriculture releases its latest Crop Progress report Monday.

A new AccuWeather analysis estimates 82% of corn will be reported as planted in the 18 key U.S. corn-producing states, an historic low for the second week of June since record keeping began in 1980.

“There are a lot of variables affecting whether or not farmers plant,” said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Jason Nicholls. “Maybe the weather this week was fine or not, or maybe farmers are thinking, ‘The price isn’t good enough so I’ll just take the insurance.’ Or, there could still be flooding -- there are just a lot of things going on.”

Corn planting has been at an all-time low percentage for the last three reports and remains behind schedule in 17 of the 18 states monitored, according to the most recent Crop Progress. Soybean planting is behind in 16 of the 18 key soybean-producing states, according to the report, but there is still more time left for soybean planting to take place.

The June 2 Crop Progress report indicated just 67% of corn was planted in 18 key corn-producing states. The 2014-18 average for corn planted by June 2 is 96%.

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Time has almost run out for U.S. farmers hoping to plant corn in 2019. Historical data shows that corn yield could drop at least 28% if corn is planted on or after June 10.

“If farmers don’t get corn planted by the weekend, it’s pretty much done because it’s too late,” Nicholls said. “It doesn’t matter if the weather is perfect after that.”

Not only are corn planting numbers low, but data on “corn emerged” is also historically low. The June 2 Crop Progress indicated just 46% of corn had emerged in the 18 corn-producing states. The five-year average by June 2 is 84%.

And this Monday June 10, the USDA will release its first data on “corn condition” and it, too, is likely to reflect this historically bad season.

“On top of the flood damage we had back in March … there’s also concern about the Platte River going over its banks,” Justin Mensik, a corn and soybean farmer in Nebraska, told AccuWeather. “So, we’ve got a lot of water going on and we need it to stop.”

The impact of this historically bad season could extend far beyond the Corn Belt, according to Kevin Kloesel, director of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.

“We’re talking about probably a billion-dollar disaster in the region on the ag side,” Kloesel told AccuWeather. “If you’re actually paying attention to the prices you’re paying for various food products, it would not shock me to see those increase given what’s happened.”

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