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Farmers Ahead on Planting Could Benefit from Predictions
Iowa Ag Connection - 05/20/2020

AccuWeather's forecast last week for "the best stretch of weather they will have had" in the Midwest came true and paid off for corn and soybean farmers in particular. Corn and soybean planting is now winding down in many of the 18 key states for each, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

"It looks like corn planting is about half a week ahead of the normal schedule, and that it will be pretty much done by the end of the month, so that's all favorable," said AccuWeather commodities consultant Jim Candor. "It may take into early June for Ohio and Michigan where they got a lot of rain, so they're a bit slower."

Corn planting in the 18 key U.S. corn-growing states is above the five-year average at 80 percent compared to 71 percent, and substantially above last year's dismal 44 percent at this same time of year. The three leading states -- Illinois, Iowa and Indiana -- are all above their five-year average, with Iowa at 96 percent compared to 82 percent. Other states above 90 percent include Minnesota (95%), Nebraska (91%), North Carolina (95%) and Texas (93%).

There's an added bonus for corn producers as the forecast for ethanol production in 2020 is on the rise after a historic coronavirus-related plummet because of social distancing measures. Roughly 40 percent of corn grown is used for ethanol.

U.S. ethanol production was at approximately 1.02 million barrels per day during the first quarter, Ethanol Producer magazine reports. It is expected to fall to 690,000 barrels per day during the second quarter but should climb to 930,000 barrels per day by the fourth quarter -- an increase of 35 percent from the second quarter. The easing of social distancing guidelines and an increase in the demand for gasoline are among the reasons for the expected increase.

Much like corn, the weather also benefitted soybean planting and many key states are similarly ahead of schedule. Iowa, with 86 percent of soybean acreage planted compared to a five-year average of 45 percent, leads the way, with Nebraska (78% compared to 42%), Indiana (56% vs. 32%) and Minnesota (74% to 51%) also showing strong numbers, according to the USDA.

Overall, soybeans planted is at an average of 53 percent in 18 key soybean-growing states, compared to 16 percent at the same time in 2019 and compared to the five-year average of 38 percent.

AccuWeather is predicting wet weather over the eastern half of the Midwest early this week, which will halt planting efforts, but a drier pattern will move in for a few days later this week. The West will be dry and warm through Thursday, favoring planting efforts. A window of dry weather over much of the Midwest next weekend into early the following week (May 30 to June 2) will favor late planting efforts.

AccuWeather, recognized and documented as the most accurate source of weather forecasts and warnings in the world, has saved tens of thousands of lives, prevented hundreds of thousands of injuries and tens of billions of dollars in property damage. With global headquarters in State College, Pa., and other offices around the world, AccuWeather serves more than 1.5 billion people daily to help them plan their lives and get more out of their day through digital media properties, such as and mobile, as well as radio, television, newspapers, and the national 24/7 AccuWeather Network channel. Additionally, AccuWeather produces and distributes news, weather content, and video for more than 180,000 third-party websites.

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