By Sara Wyant
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc
WASHINGTON, May 17- Despite rain and chilly temperatures across much of the nation last week, farmers continued to get more seeds in the ground. But with record flooding in several states, a frost across parts of the corn and wheat belt last night and the prime May 15 corn planting deadline already passed, analysts are now trying to estimate how much more land will be planted to corn.
In USDA's March survey, U.S. farmers indicated they would plant 92.178 millon acres of corn this year, up 4 million acres from prior year. Estimates of how much corn will no longer be planted now range from 750,000 acres to almost 3 million acres.
The national corn crop is now 63 percent planted, the USDA said in its weekly planting report on Monday, compared to 87 percent planted last year and 75 percent planted over an average of the last five years. Iowa's crop is 92 percent planted as of Sunday, the USDA said. That compares to 96 percent last year and 84 percent in a five-year average.
Just 69 percent of Illinois' crop is planted compared with 96 percent last year; only 29 percent of Indiana's crop is in, compared to an average 66 percent and just 7 percent of Ohio's corn is planted, compared to 70 percent over the last five years. In Minnesota, just 47% of the corn crop is in, compared to an average of 81%.
In South Dakota, USDA projected 850,000 more corn acres this year. Growers made significant progress last week, moving from only 17 percent planted by May 8 to 44 percent of the crop is in by May 15. But planting still lags compared to a five year average of 55%
In North Dakota, where USDA is projecting 450,000 more corn acres to be planted this year, only 14 percent of the crop is in, compared to a 55% average. Some parts of the state experienced snow over the weekend.
Swollen by weeks of heavy rain and snowmelt, the Mississippi River has been breaking high-water records throughout most of the month. It is projected to crest at Vicksburg on May 19 and the crest is expected to reach New Orleans on May 23.
Over 130,000 acres in Missouri were flooded when the Army Corps of Engineers decided to open the Birds Poin-New Madrid levee on May 3. Last weekend, the Corps also opened the Morganza Spillway gates to take the pressure off the levees protecting Baton Rouge and, downstream, New Orleans and the many oil refineries in between.
About 600,000 acres of cultivated row crops are expected to be under water in Mississippi, according to a spokesman with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture. Flooded crops include winter wheat, corn, soybeans, cotton and rice.
For a map of the Lower Mississippi Crest Locations and dates: