WASHINGTON, April 18, 2012 -Aided by favorable weather, spring crops continue to go into the ground at a lightning clip.

A weekly report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service showed 17% of the nation’s corn crop was in the ground on April 15, more than three times the five-year average of 5%. Planting is way ahead of schedule in two of the three “I” states. Corn was 41% planted in Illinois and 24% planted in Indiana. Iowa was 5% done. Elsewhere, 39% of Missouri’s corn acreage was seeded.

The crop progress report, usually issued on Monday, was delayed until Tuesday due to power and server outages at USDA Headquarters in Washington.

Planting of cotton, rice oats, and sugar beets is rolling along, too, according to NASS. Rice was 56% planted, nearly double the usual pace, and beets were 41% planted, up from the 14% average for this time of year. Cotton was 13% planted versus the 9% norm.

Early planting normally translates into higher yields in the fall. This year, it may also mean an extra generation of bugs to bedevil farmers this growing season, university entomologists warn.

Warmer-than-normal temperatures have allowed insects to get an early start and they’re developing at a faster-than-normal rate.

“True armyworms just keep coming on,” Gus Lorenz, Arkansas extension entomologist, said. “The call volume on this has been huge . . . It’s a big deal.

“We sampled wild hosts last week and found extremely high numbers of tarnished plant bugs, which will be a factor in cotton and probably necessitate a couple of extra treatments in that crop,” he said.

The higher numbers will mean more spraying – and increased costs to growers and a more expensive crop, Lorenz concluded.


Original story printed in April 18th, 2012 Agri-Pulse Newsletter.

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