* Early-week dry spell to boost plantings
* Showers quickly return to the Corn Belt
* U.S. corn planting pace falls to record low
By Sam Nelson
CHICAGO, May 14 Drier weather early this week in
the U.S. Midwest will boost corn plantings that have fallen to a
record slow pace due to wet and chilly weather, an agricultural
meteorologist said on Tuesday.
"It will remain dry today," said Don Keeney, meteorologist
for MDA Weather Services. "Then showers develop late on
Wednesday and continue into the weekend with the heaviest rain
in the northern Midwest."
Keeney said light showers would continue off and on through
the weekend. It will be wet again next week, with the heaviest
rain in the north, while it should be dry enough to plant in the
"The next best chance for planting is in the 11-to-15-day
period at the end of May," Keeney said. "It will be warmer and
Commodity Weather Group said rains of 0.25 inch to 1.00 inch
could be expected late Wednesday and Thursday in the Midwest,
with additional rains in the west Friday through Monday and in
the east Sunday through Wednesday.
"Near-general coverage of the Corn Belt will occur,
averaging 0.50 inch to 1.50 inches in the south and 1.50 to 3.00
inches in the north," said CWG meteorologist Joel Widenor. "This
will stall seeding again after some additional improvement this
After a cold and wet spring in most of the U.S. crop belt,
farmers have seeded 28 percent of their intended corn acres, up
from 12 percent a week earlier but far behind the five-year
average of 65 percent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said
in a weekly report on Monday.
The planting pace for corn was the slowest for this point in
the year in USDA records dating back to the 1980s, lagging 1984,
when farmers had seeded 29 percent of their corn.
The figure fell below the average estimate of 29 percent
from analysts surveyed by Reuters ahead of the report.
For soybeans, the USDA said planting was 6 percent complete,
up from 2 percent a week earlier. But the pace was the slowest
for the 19th week since 1984, when soybeans were only 4 percent
seeded. The five-year U.S. average is 24 percent.
Chicago Board of Trade corn and soybean futures were trading
higher on Tuesday, due in part to the slow planting pace that
threatened to trim 2013 production prospects.
(Additional reporting by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago; Editing by
Lisa Von Ahn)