Corn was rated 65% good/excellent in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's first nationwide condition evaluation of the season, with the Iowa and Michigan crops getting high marks among the Midwestern states, while the Illinois, Indiana and Ohio crops came in well under the national average.
The initial crop rating for corn was below expectations, suggesting the potential for an average crop, according to Farm Futures models.
“State-by-state ratings point to an average yield of around 167 bu. per acre (bpa), while the U.S. rating translates to 169 bpa,” said Bryce Knorr, Farm Futures senior grain analyst. “The average would be almost 3 bpa less than the adjusted trend yield USDA used in its May supply and demand forecast for the new crop, which is based on average weather and timely planting.”
In other tallies, corn planting reached 91% completed versus the 93% average, and emergence was 73% versus 75%. Soybean planting was at 67% completed versus the 68% average, and emergence was 37% versus 40%. It will be at least two weeks before USDA adds soybean condition ratings to its weekly report.
“Nearly all of Iowa's corn crop has been planted, with only south-central Iowa having over 10% of the crop remaining to be planted. Corn emerged reached 82%, three days behind last year but one day ahead of the five-year average. Seventy-three percent of the corn crop was rated in good to excellent condition,” the Iowa report said.
Winter wheat was 80% headed versus the 77% average, and its crop rating slipped to 50% good/excellent in the latest week versus 52% in the previous week. The Kansas crop declined to 45% good/excellent from last week's 47%, while the Illinois crop improved to 51% from the prior week's 44%.
“Winter wheat ratings slipped, but not as much as suggested by the decline in the percentage of the crop rated good to excellent, because the top category actually showed an increase,” Knorr said. “As a result, our yield models slipped only slightly, pointing to potential yields between 46 and 47 bpa.”
The Kansas state report said the southern half of the state was mostly dry, while hail in the northwest section of the state damaged some wheat there.
The Illinois state report did not provide a specific reason for the wheat crop's improvement but noted that the average state temperature of 63°F was 2.2 degrees below normal, and rainfall averaged 0.74 in. There were 3.1 days suitable for fieldwork.
Wheat harvest in Texas was 22% completed versus 10% last year and the five-year average of 15%, while Oklahoma's harvest was at 3% versus the 7% average.
“Harvest kicked off in a few areas of the High Plains but was slowed by wet conditions in other areas of the state,” the Texas report said. "Farmers in the Blacklands were concerned with the difficulties that the wet weather might cause during harvest."
Spring wheat was rated 62% good/excellent in the first condition rating of the season, compared with 79% a year ago. North Dakota's crop came in at 62% good/excellent.
“Spring wheat ratings were much lower than anticipated but came in right where the 2016 crop ended. That points to potential for good yields if conditions don't deteriorate during the growing season, with our models between 48 and 49 bpa overall,” Knorr said.
Nationally, sorghum was 44% planted versus the 49% average. Southern states had the most planted, while Kansas had the least, at 11%.