Yesterday, USDA reported that 7% of the U.S. corn crop is in the ground. This put it ahead of last year’s progress, which showed 3% of corn planted at this time in 2011. The average pace during the past 5 years is only 2%.

USDA’s weekly Crop Progress report covers the 18 states that planted 92% of last year’s corn acreage in the U.S. 

The ag agency also reported that 61% of the winter wheat crop is in “good” or “excellent” condition compared with 58% last week and 36% at this time a year ago.

In a report to investors, Henry Kirn, analyst for UBS, said, “Corn, soybean and wheat prices remain well above historical averages. While USDA forecasts 2012 farm cash net income down 6.5% year-over-year, 2012 is still forecast to be the second strongest farm income year on record, behind only 2011. We see strong income as likely to lead to strong equipment demand in 2012 and solid demand in 2013.

Kirn also reports the future prices for the three main grains were mixed last week. Using nearest expiring futures prices:

– Corn closed at $6.49 per bushel, down 1% from last week and down 16% from last year.

– Soybeans closed at $14.31 per bushel, up 1% from last week and up 5% from last year.

Wheat closed at $6.43 per bushel, down 2% from last week and down 19% from last year.