WASHINGTON, May 22 – Farmers took advantage of the warm, dry weather to plant early this year. With timely rainfall giving the plants a good start, farmers are on pace to set new record highs in 2012, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). 

The national corn crop is now 96% planted, up 9% from the preceding week, the USDA said in its weekly planting report on Monday, compared to 75% planted last year and 81% planted over an average of the last five years. For a map of corn acres planted in 2012, click here.

In USDA’s March survey, corn growers indicated they would plant 95.9 million acres of corn this year, up 4 percent from last year and 9 percent higher than in 2010. If realized, this will represent the highest planted acreage in the United States since 1937 when an estimated 97.2 million acres were planted.

In Iowa, the number one corn-growing state, USDA reported 98% of the crop is planted as of Sunday, putting farmers above the five-year average of 92%.

Almost all of Illinois’ crop is in at 99%, compared with 84% last year; 98% of Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Nebraska corn is planted as well. In Indiana, 97% of the corn is planted, compared to a 66% average, according to USDA.

For most states, planting is ahead of the five-year average.

USDA reported that 76% of the corn crop has already emerged in the 18 major growing states, significantly above 56% the preceding week, and compared to 38% from 2011 and 48% from the five-year average.

USDA reported corn conditions for the 18 major corn-growing states, with 77% of the nation’s corn rating good to excellent.

With over 70% good to excellent rating and corn emerged, these conditions are indicative of a potentially strong crop this year. 

Soybeans planted in 18 states are up dramatically, with 75% planted as of Sunday, compared to 35% at this time last year and 42% from the prior five-year average. 

In the six primary rice-producing states, which planted 100% of the 2011 rice acreage, 91% of rice is planted as of May 20, 2012, compared to 80% at the same time last year.

So far, 62% of cotton is planted for the 2012 season, while 52% was planted in 2011 at this time. 



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