Soil Moisture an Issue Across much of The Great Plains States
Spring planting is accelerating. Corn growing states have 13 of 18 states reporting progress, while cotton states have five of 15 reporting. USDA March planting intentions for corn are 91.1 million acres. The latest weekly report indicates that four percent of the crop has been planted, up from two percent last week and a point over both last year’s planting pace and the five-year historical average. Remaining acres to be planted are estimated at 626.8 million. Texas has planted 57 percent of its share of the corn crop and is a point ahead of its five-year average but five points behind last seasons pace. Subsoil moisture is a problem for Texas where only 28 percent of cropland is seen as having adequate moisture. 70 percent of the cropland in Texas is seen as short to very short in subsoil moisture.
Cotton planting increased two points to eight percent complete in this week’s report. The current pace is one point over the five-year average but a point behind last season’s pace. The USDA forecasts cotton planting to be 12 million acres in 2021. This leaves approximately 11 million acres to be planted. Arizona has planted 34 percent of its share of the national cotton crop. Arizona’s progress is a point over its five-year average and equal to last season’s pace. Subsoil moisture is not currently a problem for Arizona as 82 percent of cropland in the state is seen as having adequate moisture.
Spring wheat planting is off to a strong start. Planting progress increased eight points and is 11 percent complete. This is five points over the five-year average and six points above last season’s planting pace. The winter wheat condition report shows 53 percent of the crop is in good to excellent condition, 31 percent as fair, and 17 percent as poor to very poor. Colorado and Texas the two states underperforming the most in the condition ratings. Colorado has 34 percent of its crop rated poor to very poor and Texas is at 36 percent. Both states are struggling with drought conditions. In Colorado, only 47 percent of the cropland has adequate moisture at the topsoil level and at the subsoil level only 34 percent has adequate moisture. For Texas, topsoil moisture is adequate for 23 percent of the cropland, while subsoil moisture is adequate for 30 percent.