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USDA crop progress: Corn quality drops another three points

Getty/iStockphoto flower from the hair of corn, in the period of the formation of a roll with grain
Soybean quality ratings also down two points for the week ending July 24

Hot, dry weather was prominent across the central U.S. last week, and analysts were in turn expecting USDA to show one-point quality declines for both corn and soybeans in its latest crop progress report, out Monday afternoon and covering the week through July 24. The agency ended up lowering ratings even more than expected, including a two-point drop for soybeans and a three-point drop for corn. Spring wheat quality also fell three points this past week.

Corn ratings dropped three points from a week ago, with 61% of the crop rated in good-to-excellent condition through Sunday. Analysts were only expecting USDA to shave one point off quality ratings, in contrast. Another 25% of the crop is rated fair (unchanged from last week), with the remaining 14% rated poor or very poor (up three points from last week).

Physiologically, 62% of the crop is now silking, up from 37% a week ago but moderately behind the prior five-year average of 70%. And 13% has now reached the dough stage, versus the prior five-year average of 15%.

Soybean quality ratings took a two-point spill, with 59% of the crop now rated in good-to-excellent condition. Analysts had offered an average trade guess of 60% prior to this afternoon’s report. Another 30% is rated fair (up a point from last week), with the remaining 11% rated poor or very poor (also up a point from last week).

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the soybean crop is now blooming, which is up from the prior week’s tally of 48% but still moderately behind the prior five-year average of 69%. And 26% is now setting pods, versus week-ago results of 14% and the prior five-year average of 34%.

Spring wheat conditions degraded three points lower this past week, moving to 68% rated in good-to-excellent condition through July 24. Analysts were expecting ratings to hold steady, however. Another 24% is rated fair (up a point from last week), with the remaining 8% rated poor or very poor (up two points from last week).

Eighty-six percent of the spring wheat crop is now headed. That’s up from 68% last week but a full 10 points behind 2021’s pace and the prior five-year average.

Winter wheat harvest progress came in below the entire range of trade estimates, at 77% completion through Sunday. That puts this year’s pace a bit behind 2021’s mark of 82% and the prior five-year average of 80%.

Click here for more data from the latest USDA crop progress report, including the agency’s observations on days suitable for fieldwork and topsoil moisture conditions.

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