2018 Corn Planting Progress, A Recap

FBN Analytics

I think Brian Scott said it best about #Plant18…

corn planting progress tweet brian scottWell, I guess Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy in Anchorman really said it best. But, you get the idea.

We felt the same way as we watched farmers respond to our corn planting polls over the past few weeks. What started out as a slow, cold and wet planting season for corn really took off after the first week in May.

But let’s go back to April, first. It was a doozy. There were record-breaking temperatures and a snow storm to say the least.

When we asked you, FBN network farmers, how your 2018 corn planting progress was coming along on April 18, you said, essentially, that it wasn’t. Sigh.


Farmers in the FBN network from more than 1,850 operations, representing more than 5.96 million acres, responded to our poll, indicating that they were behind where they expected to be for planting.

April 2018 soil temperature compared to 10 year average map
Hardly any progress had been made to get seed in the ground at that point. How could it—soil temperatures were, in some places, into the double digits below the 10-year average (much too cold to plant corn), and there was still several inches of snow on the ground in many places across the Corn Belt.

But farmers found other ways to occupy their time.

twitter corn planting 2018

On April 25th, more than 2,300 farms and 7.8 million acres responded to our poll, and most farmers were still behind the USDA’s five-year average.

April 25 2018 corn planting progressAt that time, Kansas farmers were making some of the best progress; the same was true for farmers further South. However, Minnesota farmers indicated that they were still battling cold and undesirable planting conditions for corn and continued to be behind in planting progress.

If you jump ahead just one week to our poll from May 2, poll results show that the week of Easter suddenly became a busy one for farmers in Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska and Indiana. Farmers in these states experienced better weather and had gotten out to do some field work and were starting to make headway.

2018 corn planting progress

But jump ahead two weeks from a mostly red map on April 25 to May 9, and in that time, the 2018 planting sprint was fully underway. More than 2,400 farmers responded to that week’s corn planting progress poll (more than 7.94 million acres) that they were finally making some real progress, and a number of states were, by then, ahead of the USDA five-year average. 


May 2018 corn planting progress

In that amount of time—almost exactly two weeks to the day between our planting progress polls—soil temperatures had warmed up enough from farmers to get corn seed in the ground.

Turkeys across the Midwest collectively rejoiced. 

Finally, on May 17, the once brightly colored red map of a behind corn planting turned a vibrant and productive green. 

In three weeks nearly to the day, most of the Midwest went from snow on the ground to almost all of their corn being planted.

corn planting progress may 2018

If there’s anything to be learned from corn planting in 2018, it’s that in farming just about anything, sometimes everything, can change in only a matter of weeks.

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