There may be confusion on what the USDA planted progress reports mean. Lance Honig with the National Agricultural Statistics Service says we need to be careful how we interpret the planting percentages. “They represent the portion of the crop planted, relative to the intentions of that week.” That’s not as of the March planting intentions report or not what farmers thought they would plant at the beginning of the season. As an example, the weekly crop progress report says 77 percent of the soybeans are planted. That’s 77 percent of what farmers planned to plant—as of Sunday. “If you take that a step further, we will get to 100 percent,” said Honig. “That does not mean that farmers planted everything they hoped to, but let’s face it, farmers will have to stop planting at some point and at that point, progress will show 100 percent.” That means the market is trying to figure out the number of acres that won’t get planted. If farmers intended to plant 92.8 million acres of corn this spring, it would mean 7.5 million acres remain unplanted. If farmers intended to plant 84.6 million acres of soybeans this spring, there are now 19.5 million unplanted acres.
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