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USDA Crop Progress: Conditions virtually unchanged

Corn drops 1 point to 61% good/excellent; soybeans steady at 61% good/excellent.

Ben Potter, Senior editor

September 6, 2017

4 Slides

As analysts anticipated, USDA made no major updates to its weekly crop progress report for the week ending Sept. 3. A lack of emerging drought and disruptive severe weather this past week was cause for steady week-over-week crop ratings.

Analysts ahead of the next USDA crop progress report expected no change in corn’s good-to-excellent rating, currently at 62%. USDA made one small tweak, rating 61% of the corn crop as good to excellent, compared to 62% a week ago. A year ago, 74% of the corn crop was rated good to excellent.

States with the highest good-to-excellent ratings in corn include Pennsylvania (88%), Tennessee (88%), Minnesota (81%) and Kentucky (80%). States with the lowest good-to-excellent ratings include South Dakota (42%), North Dakota (48%), Indiana (51%) and Illinois (54%).

A total of 92% of the corn is in dough stage, up from 86% a week ago. Dented corn is up to 60% of the crop, compared to 44% a week ago. And 12% of the crop is mature, up from 6% a week ago.

Farm Futures predicted the drop in corn rated good to excellent, based on declines in the latest Vegetation Health Index for corn, according to senior grain analyst Bryce Knorr.

“Our forecast for yields based on these ratings fell, with the projection using USDA’s nationwide condition down 1.7 bushels per acre to 165.6 bpa,” he said. “The forecast made off state-by-state yields, which is weighted differently, eased a third of a bushel after previous declines, coming in at 164.5 bpa.”

Analysts weren’t predicting any change to soybean ratings, estimating 61% of the crop rated good to excellent. USDA agreed, estimating 61% good/excellent and making no changes from a week ago.

A lot of Mid-South production is tracking above the national average for good-to-excellent soybeans, including Tennessee (86%), Kentucky (75%) and Arkansas (70%). Some upper-Midwest states are also strong performers this season, including Wisconsin (75%) and Minnesota (73%).

Almost all of soybeans are now setting pods (97%), compared to 93% a week ago. And of 11% of the crop is dropping leaves, compared to 6% a week ago.

Knorr said soybean yield projections vary little after crop condition ratings held steady, as forecasted.

“Most of the declines took place in the Delta, where rains from Hurricane Harvey flooded fields,” he said. “The yield based on nationwide ratings was steady at 48.5 bpa, while the state-by-state model edged slightly lower to 47.5 bpa.”

Spring wheat is now 89% harvested, ahead of the five-year average of 78%.

Nearly a quarter of the sorghum crop is harvested (23%), right in line with the five-year average. That crop is currently rated 65% good to excellent.

About the Author(s)

Ben Potter

Senior editor, Farm Futures

Senior Editor Ben Potter brings two decades of professional agricultural communications and journalism experience to Farm Futures. He began working in the industry in the highly specific world of southern row crop production. Since that time, he has expanded his knowledge to cover a broad range of topics relevant to agriculture, including agronomy, machinery, technology, business, marketing, politics and weather. He has won several writing awards from the American Agricultural Editors Association, most recently on two features about drones and farmers who operate distilleries as a side business. Ben is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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