Corn planting getting started, only slightly behind

LINCOLN, NE (Omaha World-Herald News Source) – Late-winter moisture and flooding have kept farmers out of their fields, delaying corn planting in Nebraska and across the 18 major corn-producing states.

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reported for the week ending Sunday, 2% of the corn was planted in Nebraska, compared to the five-year average of 8%.

Overall, the 18 major corn-planting states, as of Sunday, also only have 2% of the corn planted, compared to the five-year average of 8%.

For other Nebraska crops, winter wheat condition rated 1% very poor, 3% poor, 27% fair, 63% good and 6% excellent.

Oats planted was 30%, behind 44% last year, and well behind the 72% average. Emerged was 2%, behind the 13% last year and well behind the 33% average.

Nebraska farmers are coming off a record corn production year. In 2018, corn for grain production was estimated at a record high 1.79 billion bushels, up 6% from 2017, according to the USDA. A record yield of 192 bushels per acre is up 11 bushels from last year. Farmers harvested 9.31 million acres of corn for grain, up slightly from 2017.

In March, as many producers were recovering from the record flooding that engulfed the state, the USDA reported that state corn growers intended to plant 9.7 million acres this year. That was up 1% from 2018.

Al Dutcher, associate Nebraska state climatologist, said the impacts continue from the major winter storm that hit Nebraska in mid-March.

Dutcher said from a temperature standpoint, the most recent 30 days have actually been beneficial as, overall, it has been slightly warmer than average.

He said soil temperatures have been constrained by wet surface (top foot) and subsurface (1-5 feet) conditions.

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