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Planting remained at a standstill in most of the Upper Midwest in the week ending April 21, 2019. (Erin Brown/Grand Vale Creative)

No surprise: USDA report shows slow planting start

A new U.S. Department of Agriculture report confirms that Upper Midwest farmers are far behind normal with their spring planting.

Area farmers are trailing their average planting pace in corn, wheat and soybeans, the region's three major crops, according to the weekly crop progress report released May 13 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the USDA.

The report reflected conditions on May 12.

An exceptionally late spring, punctuated with snowstorms in places, badly crimped planting in the first half of May, normally an active planting period. But the second half of May, along with the first 10 days of June, typically is when the bulk of area crops are planted, according to USDA figures. So favorable weather during the next few weeks could allow area farmers to make up at least part of the planting-progress gap.

Here's a look at planting progress for wheat, corn and soybeans.

Spring wheat

Wheat, a cool-season grass, usually is the first of the area's major crops to be planted.

Montana — 55% of spring wheat was planted on May 12, compared with the five-year average for the date of 68%.

South Dakota — 46% of spring wheat was in the ground on May 12, compared with the five-year average for the date of 88%.

North Dakota — 37% of spring wheat was planted on May 12, compared with the five-year average for the date of 58%.

Minnesota — 35% of spring wheat was planted on May 12, compared with the five-year average for the date of 68%.

Corn

Corn typically is planted after wheat and before soybeans.

Minnesota — 21% of corn was planted on May 12, compared with the five-year average for the date of 65%.

North Dakota — 11% of corn was planted on May 12, compared with the five-year average for the date of 43%.

South Dakota — 4% of corn was in the ground on May 12, down sharply from the five-year average for the date of 54%.

Soybeans

Soybeans normally are the last of the region's three major crops to be planted.

North Dakota — 5% of soybeans was in the ground on May 12, down from the five-year average for the date of 20%.

Minnesota — 3% of soybeans was planted on May 12, compared with the five-year average for the date of 36%.

South Dakota — No soybeans were planted on May 12, compared with the five-year average of 19%.

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