Following analyst expectations, USDA marked corn quality slightly higher in its latest crop progress report, out Monday afternoon.
“Crop conditions stabilized this week, with signs of deterioration in the heart of the Midwest offset by improvement elsewhere,” says Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr.
The agency reported 57% of this year’s corn crop is now in good-to-excellent condition as of July 7, up a point from the prior week. Another 31% of the crop is in fair condition (down a point from a week ago), with the remaining 12% rated poor or very poor (unchanged from a week ago).
“Corn ratings were mixed,” Knorr says. “While the overall U.S. rating for the crop improved nearly a whole bushel per acre to 170.6 bpa, state-by-state analysis shows a small decline instead because we weight states differently than USDA. The average was up a third of a bush to 169.1 – below average, but ahead of the 166 used by USDA in its June production, supply and demand report.”
Physiologically, 98% of the crop is now emerged, up from 94% last week but behind 2018’s pace and the five-year average, both at 100%. USDA also reports that 8% of the crop is silking. Most of this progress comes from southern states. Last year’s pace this time of year was 34%, with a five-year average of 22%.
For soybeans, USDA marked 96% of the crop as now planted, up from the prior week’s tally of 92% but behind 2018’s pace of 100% and the five-year average of 99%. Each of the top 18 production states is at least 88% planted by now.
And 90% of the soybean crop is emerged, up from 83% a week ago but still behind 2018’s pace of 100% and the five-year average of 98%. Just 10% of the crop is blooming, substantially lower than 2018’s pace of 44% and the five-year average of 32%.
Quality-wise, 53% of the crop is rated good-to-excellent, down from 54% a week ago. That bucked analyst expectations after predicting USDA would raise quality ratings a point this week. Another 35% of the crop is rated fair (unchanged from last week), with the remaining 12% rated poor or very poor (up a point from last week).
“Soybean ratings declined, as forecast by growers on Feedback From The Field last week,” Knorr says. “Our forecast of yields based on ratings lost around a third of a bushel per acre, with the average of the two models at 49.8 bpa in a range of 49.5 to 50.1 bpa. Losses in the three I states plus Missouri were offset by gains on the Plains and northern states, with a big drop-off also seen in North Carolina.”
USDA also says this year’s winter wheat progress has reached 47%, versus analyst expectations of 45%. That’s up moderately from last week’s tally of 30% but still moderately behind 2018’s pace and the five-year average, both at 61%.
Winter wheat crop condition climbed to 64% in good-to-excellent condition, up a point from last week. Another 26% of the crop is rated fair (down a point from last week), with the remaining 10% rated poor or very poor (unchanged from last week).
For spring wheat, 56% of the crop is now headed, more than doubling last week’s mark of 25%, but still behind 2018’s pace of 78% and the five-year average of 73%.
Spring wheat crop condition, meantime, rose three points to reach 78% in good-to-excellent condition. Another 19% of the crop is rated fair, with the remaining 3% rated poor.
“Ratings for both spring and winter wheat fields improved this week, supporting our projection for USDA to increase its estimate of production in Thursday’s report, which features the first survey for spring wheat production,” Knorr says.
Days suitable for fieldwork varied from state to state last week but generally fell between five and six days, according to USDA.