By Ben Potter
As analysts anticipated, the U.S. Department of Agriculture made no major updates to its weekly "Crop Progress" report for the week ending Sept. 3. A lack of emerging drought and disruptive severe weather this past week was cause for steady week-over-week crop ratings.
Ahead of the next USDA crop progress report, analysts expect no change in corn’s good-to-excellent rating, which is currently at 62%. USDA made one small tweak, rating 61% of the corn crop as good to excellent, compared to 62% a week ago. A year ago, 74% of the corn crop was rated good to excellent.
States with the highest good-to-excellent ratings in corn include Pennsylvania (88%), Tennessee (88%), Minnesota (81%) and Kentucky (80%). States with the lowest good-to-excellent ratings include South Dakota (42%), North Dakota (48%), Indiana (51%) and Illinois (54%).
A total of 92% of the corn crop is in the dough stage, up from 86% a week ago. Dented corn is now at 60% of the crop, compared to 44% a week ago, and 12% of the crop is mature, up from 6% a week ago.
Farm Futures predicted the drop in corn rated good to excellent, based on declines in the latest Vegetation Health Index for corn, according to senior grain analyst Bryce Knorr.
“Our forecast for yields based on these ratings fell, with the projection using USDA’s nationwide condition down 1.7 bu. per acre (bpa) to 165.6 bpa,” he said. “The forecast made off state-by-state yields, which is weighted differently, eased a third of a bushel after previous declines, coming in at 164.5 bpa.”
Analysts weren’t predicting any change to soybean ratings, estimating that 61% of the crop would be rated good to excellent. USDA agreed, with a 61% good/excellent estimate, making no changes from a week ago.
A lot of production in the mid-South is tracking above the national average for good-to-excellent soybeans, including Tennessee (86%), Kentucky (75%) and Arkansas (70%). Some upper-Midwest states are also strong performers this season, including Wisconsin (75%) and Minnesota (73%).
Almost all of the soybeans -- 97% -- are now setting pods, compared to 93% a week ago. Also, 11% of the crop is dropping leaves, compared to 6% a week ago.
Knorr said soybean yield projections vary little after crop condition ratings held steady, as forecasted.
“Most of the declines took place in the Delta, where rains from Hurricane Harvey flooded fields,” he said. “The yield based on nationwide ratings was steady at 48.5 bpa, while the state-by-state model edged slightly lower to 47.5 bpa.”
Spring wheat is now 89% harvested, ahead of the five-year average of 78%.
Nearly a quarter (23%) of the sorghum crop has been harvested, right in line with the five-year average. That crop is currently rated 65% good to excellent.