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Serving: United States

USDA crop progress: Crop quality is shifting unevenly

iStock/Getty Images young small corn plant seedlings in soil
Corn and spring wheat ratings take a tumble, while winter wheat ratings improve.

With planting progress nearly complete for the major U.S. row crops this season, USDA’s crop progress reports have begun to shift focus to quality ratings, and those ratings were on the move this past week. Corn quality eroded four points lower, and spring wheat ratings took a five-point tumble, while winter wheat ratings firmed two points higher for the week ending June 6. USDA also offered an initial glimpse into soybean quality ratings, which were three points below the average trade guess.

Corn quality took a four-point hit this past week, moving from 76% rated in good-to-excellent condition down to 72% through Sunday. Analysts were more bullish on quality ratings but did expect to see a two-point drop from a week ago. Another 23% is rated fair (up three points from last week), with the remaining 5% rated poor or very poor among the top 18 production states (up one point from last week).

Physiologically, 90% of the crop is emerged, up from 81% a week ago. That’s also better than 2020’s pace of 87% and the prior five-year average of 82%. Each of the top 18 production states is past the halfway mark by now, with Pennsylvania (68%) the farthest behind so far.

Soybean planting progress reached 90% through Sunday, in line with analyst expectations and up from the prior week’s mark of 84%. It’s also moving along at a faster clip than 2020’s pace of 84% and the prior five-year average of 79%. Emergence reached 76%, compared to the prior week’s mark of 62% and much faster than the prior five-year average of 59%.

USDA’s first look at soybean quality ratings were lower than expected. Analysts offered an average trade guess of 70% rated in good-to-excellent condition prior to today’s report, but the agency showed 67% of the crop with those ratings. Another 27% of the crop is rated fair, with the remaining 6% rated poor or very poor.

Spring wheat plantings are complete this year, with 90% of the crop now emerged. That’s up from 80% a week ago and faster than both 2020’s pace of 79% and the prior five-year average of 86%.

Spring wheat quality is on its heels, meantime, dropping five points to 38% of the crop rated in good-to-excellent condition. Analysts were anticipating a three-point drop. Another 37% of the crop is rated fair (unchanged from last week), with the remaining 25% rated poor or very poor (up five points from last week).

Winter wheat quality improved two points, in contrast, with half of the crop now rated in good-to-excellent condition. Analysts expected USDA to hold ratings steady from a week ago, when 48% was rated good-to-excellent. Another 32% is rated fair (down a point from last week), with the remaining 18% rated poor or very poor (also down a point from last week).

Physiologically, 85% of the winter wheat crop is now heading, up from 79% last week and just behind the prior five-year average of 86%. Harvest nationwide is on the board with 2%, although only five of the top 18 production states have made measurable progress so far. The prior five-year average is 7%.

Click here to read the latest USDA crop progress report for additional information on cotton, rice, peanuts, sorghum, sunflowers and more.

Follow along with the season by clicking the links below.

USDA crop progress: Corn plantings only at 4% 

USDA crop progress: Corn plantings slightly below expectations

USDA crop progress: Corn plantings reach 17% completion

USDA crop progress: Corn plantings race ahead 

USDA crop progress: The finish line approaches 

USDA crop progress: 9 of every 10 corn acres now planted 

USDA crop progress: Corn quality off to a great start 

Tell us how your crop is doing by sharing your Feedback From The Field at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdf8KQ1LWJqpWZya30gFeIseS7_4ceD1Fpcaj38cejI_WO1xA/viewform.

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