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Crop Condition Keeps Slipping

Crop Condition Keeps Slipping
The rate of the decline has slowed a bit, but after such a big fall there's no 'up' left.

The Crop Progress report released by USDA Monday offers little good news for corn and soybean producers. Nationally corn condition has slipped from 26% good to excellent down to 24% in that rating, the amount rated poor to very poor rose to 48% from 45% a week ago.

Illinois and Missouri, for example, now show only 5% of their corn in the good to excellent range. Indiana rates a little better with 9% at the top range, and Kansas at 10%. Meanwhile, Minnesota, long the garden spot this year, saw its corn condition rating slip to 56% good to excellent, down from 61% last week. Iowa has fallen to 20% good to excellent from 23% last week.

The rate of the decline has slowed a bit, but after such a big fall there's no 'up' left.

Already YouTube and other social media sources are filling with Harvest 2012 images as early corn harvest of what's left has started in some drought-ravaged areas. Yield estimates for the 2012 crop have fallen too. USDA's last crop report dropped the yield estimate to 146 bushels per acre, and a new report set for Aug. 10 could change that again. Independent sources say it's lower. For example, the Farm Futures estimate model now pegs the crop at 121.5 bushels per acre, which would be about a 10.1 billion bushel corn crop and put significant pressure on the market.

Soybeans: The soybean crop slid lower, but not by much in the latest report. The crop is now rated 29% good to excellent, compared with 31% a week ago. Missouri's soybean crop is 7% good to excellent compared to 8% a week ago. Top states like Minnesota saw a drop - in the Gopher State soybean condition ratings slipped from 60% good to excellent down to 57%.

Rains across the northern Corn Belt weren’t enough to save corn in a lot of areas, but that moisture may have helped soybeans. Next week's condition rates will show more.

Wheat: The winter wheat harvest is essentially finished up with 85% reported complete. The spring wheat harvest is well ahead of schedule with 28% reported harvested, versus a 3% five-year average. Spring wheat condition ratings actually improved this week rising to 63% from 60% last week.

Cotton: Condition ratings for this important fiber crop slipped in the past week from 47% to 44% good to excellent. Alabama has just 30% of its cotton rated good (none rated excellent). Texas has seen its crop slip from 37% to 34% good to excellent. The crop is running about on schedule with 93% of the crop squaring and 59% setting bolls.

Sorghum: This is a crop that's holding steady with 26% good to excellent. Of course this is a crop that thrives even when the weather is hot. The amount of the crop rated poor to very poor rose two percentage points to 42% in the past week.

Peanuts: And summer heat hasn't hurt peanuts where condition ratings actually rose in the latest report from 67% to 69% good to excellent. The crop is much better shape than last year at this time when only 43% of the crop was good to excellent. And it's just a little ahead of schedule with 85% pegging versus an 80% five year average by this time.

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