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Serving: United States
Corn and soybean rows with grassy field road between them. Mark R Coons/iStock/GettyImages

USDA crop progress: Corn quality drops again

Soybean conditions also take a dip in the latest quality ratings updates.

USDA’s latest crop progress report, out Monday afternoon and covering the week ending July 12, had a few minor surprises – notably, corn and soybean conditions eroded more than analysts anticipated. The 2019/20 winter wheat harvest also rolling a bit more slowly than expected this past week.

Corn crop quality fell another two points last week, moving from 71% of the crop rated in good-to-excellent condition down to 69%. Analysts only expected USDA to dock quality one point. Another 23% of the crop is rated fair (unchanged from last week), with the remaining 8% rated poor or very poor (up two points from last week).

State-by-state quality rating continue to vary widely, and oftentimes there isn’t a clear regional pattern. Production powerhouses such as Iowa and Minnesota are performing above the national average, while states such as Colorado (43% rated good-to-excellent), Ohio (47%) and Texas (49%) have relatively struggled this year.

Physiologically, 29% of the crop is now silking, which is well above 2019’s pace of 14% but slightly behind the prior five-year average of 32%. And 3% of the crop has made it to dough stage, which is in line with the prior five-year average.

Soybean crop quality took an even bigger step down, moving from 71% rated in good-to-excellent condition a week ago down to 68% through July 12. Analysts only expected USDA to dock quality one point. Another 25% of the crop is rated fair (up one point from last week), with the remaining 7% rated poor or very poor (up two points from last week).

Physiologically, 48% of the crop is blooming, versus 2019’s pace of 19% and the prior five-year average of 40%. And 11% is now setting pods, versus 2019’s pace of 3% and the prior five-year average of 10%.

The winter wheat harvest continues to move a bit closer to the finish line, moving from 56% complete a week ago up to 68% through July 12. Analysts expected a bit quicker pace, with an average trade guess of 70%. This year’s progress remains slightly faster than the prior five-year average of 66%.

Spring wheat harvest will also kick off in a few short weeks, with 80% of the crop now headed. That’s above 2019’s pace of 72% but behind the prior five-year average of 85%.

Quality-wise, USDA docked the crop another two points, with 69% of the crop now rated in good-to-excellent condition. Another 24% of the crop is rated fair (unchanged from last week), with the remaining 8% rated poor or very poor (up two points from last week).

Click here to read the latest USDA crop progress report in its entirety for additional data on sorghum, cotton, rice, barley, pasture conditions and more.

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