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USDA crop progress: Corn quality erodes two points lower

Getty/DarcyMaulsby Drought stressed corn field in Iowa
Soybean quality improves two points last week, per USDA

The latest batch of crop progress data from USDA, out Monday afternoon and covering the week through August 1, provided a mixed bag of numbers for traders to digest. Analysts expected the agency to dock corn and soybean quality a point each this past week. However, USDA raised its quality ratings two points higher for soybeans while docking the corn crop by two points. Spring wheat quality ratings also firmed a point, bucking expectations that they would continue to decline.

Corn quality moved two points lower, with 62% of the crop rated in good-to-excellent condition through Sunday. Another 27% is rated fair (up a point from last week), with the remining 11% rated poor or very poor (also up a point from last week). Pennsylvania continues to lead the way with 87% rated in good-to-excellent condition – best among the top 18 production states so far.

Physiologically, 91% of the crop is now silking – up from 79% a week ago and favorable to the prior five-year average of 86%. And 38% is now at the dough stage, up from 18% a week ago and also ahead of the prior five-year average of 33%.

Analysts expected to see a one-point drop in soybean crop quality, but USDA handed out two-point gains instead, moving to 60% rated in good-to-excellent condition. Another 28% of the crop is rated fair (down two points from last week), with the remaining 12% rated poor or very poor (unchanged from a week ago). Kentucky and Louisiana have the highest-rated quality among the top 18 production states, each with 83% rated good-to-excellent.

Physiologically, 86% of this year’s soybean crop is now blooming, up from 76% a week ago and ahead of the prior five-year average of 82%. More than half (58%) is now setting pods, versus 42% a week ago and the prior five-year average of 52%.

Spring wheat quality ratings actually improved a point this past week, but only 10% is rated in good-to-excellent condition. Compare that to year-over-year results of 73%. Another 26% of the crop is rated fair (up a point from last week), with the remaining 64% rated poor or very poor (down two points from a week ago). Harvest is now 17% complete, up from 3% a week ago and firmly ahead of the prior five-year average of 8%.

The winter wheat harvest is moving even closer to completion, with 91% progress through Sunday. That’s up from 84% last week and favorable to the prior five-year average of 86%. Eight of the top 18 production states are now 100% complete, according to USDA. Idaho has the furthest to go, at 47%.

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

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