While the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasted better-than-expected corn and soybean yields last week, the latest "Crop Progress" report out Monday afternoon still doesn’t point to bin-busting production this year.
Crop ratings were mixed, which could provide at least a measure of support for bulls hoping the summer rally isn’t history.
USDA rated 60% of the soybean crop nationwide in good or excellent condition, down 2% from the previous week. Steady to lower condition ratings were noted in much of the growing region outside the central Midwest, from Wisconsin to Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.
The most notable decline in soybeans came in Iowa, where the Farm Futures' model pegged yields down 1.2 bu. per acre. Losses were also seen in the western Midwest and from the Delta into the Southeast and the eastern Midwest.
The Farm Futures model, based on ratings, cut nationwide soybean yield potential by 0.15 bu. per acre, with the average at 47.75 bu. per acre. USDA put the average U.S. yield at 49.4 bu. per acre, which would generate a record crop due to a large increase in seedings this year.
Corn fields in Iowa also lost ground in the latest ratings, where the Farm Futures' estimate fell 4 bu. to 178.8 bu. per acre. USDA was nearly 10 bu. per acre higher in last week’s estimate, but Vegetation Health Index maps showed stress increasing in parts of the state missed by rain showers.
Iowa was the exception, not the rule, in corn last week. Overall Vegetation Health Index scores improved. Though states in the eastern part of the corn growing region from Michigan to North Carolina declined, USDA said the percentage of the crop rated good to excellent was up 2% to 62%. The Farm Futures model based on ratings put the nationwide corn yield at 166.2 bu. per acre, in a range from 165.5 to 166.9 bu. USDA’s initial yield in last’s week’s production report was 169.5 bu. per acre.
Spring wheat conditions were mixed this week. The percentage of the crop rated good or excellent was up 1%, but more was also reported in very poor shape, too. That left the overall rating slightly lower, with yield potential down fractionally. The models put the average spring wheat yield at 36.5 bu. per acre, in a range from 35.7 to 37.2 bu. USDA had the yield at 38.3 bu. per acre in last week’s production estimate.
The wheat harvest remains ahead of normal, with 97% of the winter wheat crop and 40% of the spring wheat completed. Corn development is still a little slow. USDA reported 16% of the crop dented, down from the average of 20%. Soybeans are ahead, with 79% of the crop setting pods, up 4% from the five-year average.