Ahead of today’s crop progress report from USDA, covering the week through August 23, analysts were expecting the agency to dock corn and soybean quality several points. In a somewhat surprising move, USDA knocked down quality even more than anticipated for both crops following widespread hot, dry weather across the Midwest last week.
Corn quality saw a five-point decline, moving from 69% rated in good-to-excellent condition a week ago down to 64%. Another 24% of the crop is rated fair (up three points from a week ago), with the remaining 12% rated poor or very poor (up two points from a week ago). State ratings vary widely. Of particular note is Iowa, suffering damaging winds two weeks ago and generally hot, dry weather since then. The state’s corn quality ratings are now at just 50% in good-to-excellent condition.
Physiologically, 88% of the crop has entered dough stage, up from 76% a week ago and moving along somewhat more quickly than the prior five-year average of 82%. Nearly half (44%) of the crop is now dented, versus 23% last week and also favorable to the prior five-year average of 39%. And 5% is now considered mature, which is right in line with the prior five-year average.
Soybean quality ratings also fell more than expected, moving from 72% in good-to-excellent last week down to 69% through Sunday. Analysts were expecting a two-point drop. Another 23% of the crop is rated fair (up two points from last week), with the remaining 8% rated poor or very poor (up one point from last week). Perhaps not surprisingly, Iowa has the worst poor-to-very-poor ratings, with 13% of its crop landing in that category.
Physiologically, 92% of the crop is now setting pods, which is up from last week’s tally of 84% and ahead of the prior five-year average of 87%. And 4% of the crop is dropping leaves, which mirrors the prior five-year average.
The 2019/20 winter wheat harvest is inching toward completion, moving from 93% a week ago to 97% through Sunday. That puts this year’s pace slightly ahead of 2019’s pace of 95% and slightly behind the prior five-year average of 98%.
But this year’s spring wheat harvest is moving more sluggishly than it has in recent years, with nearly half of the crop (49%) harvested through Sunday. That’s moderately behind the prior five-year average of 62%, although it is moving along more quickly than 2019’s pace of 32%. Crop conditions firmed by a point, bucking analyst expectations. Seventy-one percent of the crop is now rated in good-to-excellent condition, with 23% rated fair and 6% rated poor or very poor.
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