Just like St. Patrick’s Day marks the ideal spring barley sowing season here in the UK and Ireland, many US farmers aim to have corn (maize) planted by May 20.

After this, yield is expected to be hit and as a result farmers often turn to soybeans.

AgriLand has been keeping a close eye on US corn plantings in our grain price reports and farmers around the globe will watch plantings with a keen eye.

Looking at the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) crop progress reports – which tell the story of US crops over the growing season – as of May 19 corn planting had increased somewhat since May 12, but was still 31% behind the overall five-year average of 80% for the time of year.

92% of US corn was produced in 18 states in 2018 and 49% of corn had been planted in these states as of May 19 this year. That’s compared to 78% at the same time last year.

Some states, like North Dakota, have been hit hard by snow and heavy rain and plantings are below average as a result.

Plantings were at just 9% in North Dakota as of May 19 as heavy snow continued to fall in the state last week. That is an increase of just 5% from May 12 and is 53% behind the five-year average for the state – which is 62%.

Some US states with low corn plantings as of May 19 (the five-year average for the time of year is in brackets):

  • North Dakota – 9% (62%);
  • Indiana – 14% (73%);
  • Michigan – 19% (54%);
  • South Dakota – 19% (76%);
  • Illinois – 24% (89%);
  • Wisconsin – 35% (65%).

Support from government

Meanwhile, AgriLand was in Washington when the US government announced an aid package for agriculture this week.

$16 billion dollars will be provided to support US farmers who have been struggling with low prices as a result of the on-going trade war with China.

15 crops will fall into the package from lentils to soybeans.