A hard freeze is forecast across a significant portion of the western Corn Belt, with 14 percent of the U.S. corn crop and 5 percent of the soybean crop at risk of freeze damage, said forecaster Maxar on Wednesday.
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The wettest spring in a quarter-century may lead to the largest crop insurance payout since 2000 to farmers unable to plant corn and soybeans, said a university economist. He spoke ahead of a USDA report today that will project the impact of a cold and rainy spring on this fall’s harvest.
The USDA announced a one-time change on Thursday to its rules on harvesting forage and grazing livestock on prevented-planting cropland. The move was meant to assure there will be enough livestock feed this year, particularly for dairy cattle.
Normally, the corn-planting season is over by the first week of June, but this year, 31 million acres — one-third of the intended corn land nationwide — have yet to be sown due to a persistently rainy spring. Soybean planting is also far behind schedule.
A larger-than-usual portion of the U.S. corn crop will be planted so late that yields could be depressed, said two University of Illinois economists on Thursday. “A reasonable estimate is that late corn planting in 2019 will be at least 5 to 10 percent above average.”
More than 19 million acres of corn were planted last week, thanks to generally favorable weather in the Midwest, according to the Crop Progress report released on Monday.
When the winter wheat crop breaks dormancy over the next few weeks, it will face arid conditions in the central and southern Plains due to an extraordinarily dry winter, said an agricultural meteorologist.
Little precipitation has fallen during California’s traditional wet season, so drought is likely across the state during the spring, said the National Weather Service. Drought was also expected to expand in Texas and the southern Plains, a key region for winter wheat.