Corn planting is progressing well ahead of the five-year average across the vast majority of corn producing areas, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report.  As a whole, the report indicates that a full 71 percent of the nation's corn crop had already been planted as of May 6, 24 points ahead of the five-year average at that time.

"What growers optimistically viewed as a potentially optimal planting season has become a reality in many areas," said National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer.  "With nearly three-quarters of the nation's corn acres already in the ground, farmers have reason to look toward the 2012 harvest with greater hopes than in recent years.  Conditions could still change, but either way, farmers will meet the challenge and produce an affordable, abundant supply of corn."

(For more, see: Hybrid corn makes better use of nitrogen)

Tennessee, the state leading in corn planting progress again this week, had an estimated 98 percent of total corn acres planted as of Sunday.  North Carolina and Kentucky also neared completion with 94 and 92 percent of corn acreage planted respectively.

Other states with 80 percent or more of corn acres planted at this time include Illinois (89), Indiana (84), and Missouri (84).

Of the 18 states which account for the vast majority of the nation's corn production, only Texas has fallen behind the five-year average trend of 80 percent of the corn acreage planted at this time.  Yet, even here, corn growers are nearly even with that average with 75 percent of the acres already planted.

This Thursday, the USDA will make additional information available as it releases the first estimate of the 2012 corn supply and demand.  This report documents changes to supply and demand across all crops, internationally.  It is possible that, in this edition, the agency may adjust estimations of U.S. carry-out stocks, estimates of the South American corn crop and will include the first USDA projection of the 2012-2013 U.S. corn crop.