Crop Conditions Mixed Across Region

May 28, 2018


The Spring of 2018 has been a battle for most crop producers in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, as they have tried to get corn and soybeans planted on a timely basis. Some favorable weather in late May has allowed significant planting progress in some areas of the region. A fairly-large amount of corn and soybeans remain to be planted in portions of the southern one-fourth of Minnesota and the northern one-fourth of Iowa, as well as adjoining areas of eastern South Dakota. Heavy rains during the week of May 20-26 have caused further planting delays in some of the hardest hit areas of the region, as well as leading to standing water in some fields that were previously planted.

Based on the May 20 USDA Crop Progress Report, 77 percent of Minnesota’s corn was planted, compared to only 40 percent a week earlier, and a five-year (2013-2017) average of 84 percent planted. Iowa had 86 percent of the corn planted by May 20, which compared to 91 percent planted by that date in 2017, and a five-year average of 88 percent. Most of the unplanted corn in the two States was located in the highly productive areas of southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.

North and South Dakota, respectively, had 62 percent and 66 percent of the corn planted on May 20, which were both well behind 2017 planting progress, as well as the five-year average. Wisconsin had only 56 percent of the corn planted on May 20, which trailed the five-year average of 66 percent. Nationally, 81 percent of the corn was planted by May 20, which is the same as the five-year average, and compares to 82 percent planted in 2017. Fifty percent of the corn in the U.S. was emerged as of May 20, which is 3 percent ahead of normal, and compares to 51 percent emergence a year ago.

The May 20 report showed 48 percent of the soybeans planted in Minnesota, which was behind the five-year average of 56 percent planted, and 68 percent of soybeans planted by the same date in 2017. By comparison, Iowa had 58 percent of the intended soybeans planted by May 20, just below the 59 percent planted by that date in 2017. Again, the soybean planting progress was the slowest in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. Fifty-six percent of the U.S. soybean crop were planted by May 20, which was well above the five-year average of 44 percent of soybeans planted by that date, and compares to 50 percent planted by that date in 2017.

Some drier weather in late May in some portions of southern and western Minnesota, together with some above normal temperatures, allowed for significant corn and soybean planting in portions of the region. The warmer temperatures and adequate moisture allowed for rapid germination of the later planted crops, and some very good growing conditions. Some later planted corn and soybeans, which had adequate soil moisture, emerged 5-7 days after planting, as a result of the ideal conditions.

As of May 23, a total of 271.5 growing degree units (GDU”s) had been accumulated at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center at Waseca since May 1, which is about 20 percent greater than normal, and compares to 231 GDU’s accumulated by that date in 2017. The above normal GDU accumulation in late May has allowed for the excellent growing conditions and some favorable early-season corn and soybean stands in many areas.

As of May 23, the Research Center at Waseca had received 4.22 inches of precipitation during the month of May, which is slightly above normal; however, many locations across southern Minnesota and norther Iowa have received considerably more rainfall during May. This has resulted in the significant planting delays, as well as standing water in numerous fields.



In the areas with significant planting delays, farm operators are having to make some difficult decisions …… should they continue to plant earlier corn hybrids or switch to soybeans, or after May 31 should they file a prevented planting” crop insurance claim. The Final Planting Date for corn in the southern two-thirds of Minnesota, as well as in all of Iowa, and Wisconsin is May 31, in order to receive full crop insurance coverage for 2018. The Late Planting Period for corn is June 1-25, with a reduction in the insurance coverage level of one percent for each day that corn planting is delayed past May 31.

In Northern Minnesota, the final date for corn planting with full insurance coverage is May 25. For soybeans, the Final Planting Date is June 10 in Minnesota and the northern two-thirds of Wisconsin, and June 15 in Iowa and the southern one-third of Wisconsin, with the Final Planting Date extending for 25 days until July 5 in Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin, and until July 10 in Iowa and Southern Wisconsin. For crops planted after the final dates for the Late Planting Period, crop insurance coverage is set at a maximum of 55 percent of the original insurance guarantee, which is the same as the prevented planting insurance coverage.

It is important to pay close attention to the Final Planting Dates and the Late Planting Period when making late planting or prevented planting crop insurance decisions. Producers should contact their crop insurance agent for more details on final planting dates and prevented planting options with various crop insurance policies. There are also some good fact sheets available on the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) web site at:

Kent Thiesse, Farm Management Analyst, has prepared an information sheet titled: “Late and Prevented Planting Options For 2018”, which contains details on prevented planting requirements and considerations, as well as Tables comparing the potential results for options of late planting or prevented planting with normal production for corn and soybeans. To receive a copy of the prevented planting information sheet, please send an e-mail to:



Note — For additional information contact Kent Thiesse, Farm Management Analyst and Senior

Vice President, MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. (Phone — (507) 381-7960);

E-mail —


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