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Serving: United States
Green corn field in the sunset. vencavolrab/ThinkstockPhotos-

USDA crop progress: Corn quality on the rise

Soybean crop quality also improves a point from the prior week.

USDA’s latest crop progress report shows corn plantings nearly finished, with soybeans taking another moderate step forward for the week ending June 7. Now, the focus shifts more toward crop quality, with corn and soybeans both starting this year in good shape so far.

Corn plantings reached 97% completion last week, according to USDA, moving up from 93% a week ago and in line with analyst expectations. This year’s pace is still much swifter than 2019’s 78%, as well as the prior five-year average of 93%. Each of the top 18 production states has nine of every 10 acres in the ground at this point, with the exception of North Dakota (87%). And 89% of this year’s crop is now emerged, up from 78% last week and favorable versus the prior five-year average of 84%.

Crop quality is on the rise – as analysts anticipated, USDA moved ratings a point higher this past week, to reach 75% in good-to-excellent condition. Another 21% is rated fair (down a point from last week), with the remaining 4% rated poor or very poor (steady from a week ago). Statewide variances are moderate, with Pennsylvania (90%) leading the way in crop quality while Colorado (51%) sits on the low end of that spectrum for now.

Soybean planting progress moved from 75% complete a week ago up to 86% this week, versus analyst expectations of 87%. This year’s progress is still well ahead last year’s pace of 54% and moderately ahead of the prior five-year average of 79%. About two-thirds (67%) of the crop is emerged, which is also ahead of the prior five-year average of 61%.

Analysts expected crop quality to firm by a point, but USDA doled out two points in its latest assessment, moving the amount of the crop rated in good-to-excellent condition to 72%. Another 24% is rated fair (down two points from last week), with the remaining 4% rated poor or very poor (unchanged from a week ago).

This year’s spring wheat planting season has also nearly concluded, reaching 97% this past week. The prior five-year average is slightly higher, at 99%. None of the top six production states are far from the finish line, however – North Dakota (95%) is the farthest behind at this point. Nationwide, 81% of the crop is now emerged, which is moderately behind the prior five-year average of 91%. Quality-wise, the crop is in great shape, with USDA adding two points last week to reach 82% rated in good-to-excellent condition.

While planters were still rolling in some fields this week, the winter wheat harvest has kicked off in six states, including Arkansas (28%), California (15%), Missouri (1%), North Carolina (17%), Oklahoma (19%) and Texas (53%). Nationwide, 7% of the 2019/20 crop has now been harvested, which is moderately ahead of 2019’s sluggish pace of 3% but in line with the prior five-year average. Nearly all (85%) of the crop is headed this week, which is slightly below the prior five-year average of 88%.

Winter wheat crop quality wobbled slightly, but 51% of the crop is still rated in good-to-excellent condition. Another 30% is rated fair, with the remaining 19% rated poor or very poor.

Click here to read the latest USDA crop progress report in its entirety.

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