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CROP PROGRESS: Spring wheat condition slips; corn condition flat

Soybeans slip a point to 66% good/excellent; winter wheat harvest 41% completed.

The condition of spring wheat dropped for the fourth straight week -- the latest being just a one-point dip to 40% good to excellent, with declines reported in the majority of the six states that the U.S. Department of Agriculture surveys.

Winter wheat’s condition stayed at 49% good/excellent. The crop was 41% harvested, which was ahead of the five-year average.

Corn was unchanged at 67% good/excellent in USDA’s weekly progress report, running contrary to some forecasts for a slight improvement. Corn in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa improved a little. Missouri’s corn improved three points, while Kansas was unchanged at 61%. North Dakota’s corn dropped five points to 56% good/excellent for one of the bigger drops among key production states.

Soybeans slipped a point to 66% good/excellent and were down from last year’s 72%. Improvements were noted in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Ohio, while Iowa was unchanged, and crop ratings in Indiana and Nebraska declined.

“The drop in the spring wheat ratings knocked more than a third of a bushel off our yield projection, which is now right around 41 bpa (bu. per acre) for both the state-by-state and national models. Declines were seen in all the key states except Montana, where yields are still very low,” said Bryce Knorr, Farm Futures senior grain analyst.

The decline in spring wheat was offset by an incremental increase in winter wheat ratings as harvest brings in more data. Knorr said the increase added about 0.1 bpa to yield potential, which  ranged from 46.0 to 47.1 bpa, according to Farm Futures models.

Corn ratings eased slightly on the state-by-state projections, although the national total was steady.

“Gains were seen across the middle of the Corn Belt from Kansas to Ohio, with losses in the west and north. Our yield projections range from 169.4 to 170.9, with the average at 170.1 (bpa),” Knorr said. “Yield projections from Vegetation Health Index maps, while improving, remain significantly behind the ratings, running in the range of 155 to 164 bpa.”

The dip in soybean ratings took about 0.15 bpa from the yield potential, Knorr noted. Models based on the ratings point to yield potential of 48.7-49.5 bpa.

“The VHI for soybeans is a little lower but still on track, with an average at 48 bpa,” he said.

Iowa reported below-normal rainfall last week for most of the state. While topsoil moisture statewide was 70% adequate and 2% surplus, the state report said moisture levels in the southeast “continued to fall, with 78% rated short to very short.”

In other tallies, corn silking reached 4%, which was one point behind the average, and soybean blooming was 9% versus the 7% average.

The North Dakota report said, “Dry conditions persisted over much of the state, as little to no rain was received. Some isolated areas in the northern and eastern portions of North Dakota received up to half an inch of moisture. The southwestern third of the state received no rainfall, which caused continued stress to emerged crops.”

North Dakota’s spring wheat conditions dropped three points to 39% good/excellent. South Dakota’s spring wheat dropped to 12% good/excellent from 14%. Idaho’s crop dropped nine points to 53% good/excellent.

Nationally, sorghum was 20% headed versus the 22% average. The crop was rated 65% good/excellent, down a point from a week ago.

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