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CROP PROGRESS: Corn maturity still lags behind average

Corn maturity has fallen 10% behind both last year and five-year average.

According to the latest "Crop Progress" report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the corn crop's condition was unchanged from a week ago, with 61% of the crop rated good to excellent. However, also pay attention to the crop’s maturity, which has slipped moderately behind the five-year average. The 2017 crop is 21% mature, versus 31% for the five-year average.

The percentage of the corn crop in the dough and dented phases is also behind the five-year averages, but less significantly so. A total of 96% of the 2017 crop is at the dough stage – just 1% behind the five-year average – and 75% has reached the dented stage, compared to 85% a year ago and 81% for the five-year average.

Harvest itself has barely begun, at 5% completed – neck and neck with the five-year average of 6%. Harvest is not uniformly ahead or behind, however. Of the five states furthest along, Texas (60%), North Carolina (56%) and Kentucky (22%) are ahead of schedule, while Tennessee (26%), Missouri (12%) and Kansas (10%) are running behind.

Corn ratings held steady this week on a national level, but there was little improvement on the maps state by state, according to Bryce Knorr, senior grain market analyst for Farm Futures, whose model using state ratings put the corn yield at 164.6 bu. per acre (bpa), with the projection based on the nationwide rating at 165.6 bpa.

Soybean ratings slipped 1%, moving the crop's good-to-excellent amount from 61% to 60%.

A lot of mid-South production is tracking above the national average for soybeans rated good to excellent, including Tennessee (79%), Kentucky (75%) and Arkansas (68%). However, recent heavy rains in the area lowered some of those ratings from a week ago. Some Upper Midwest states are also showing strong performances as the season winds down, including Wisconsin (77%) and Minnesota (72%).

Knorr said the Farm Futures models, built on USDA’s crop ratings, are showing lower yield potential.

“Yield projections were lower based on the decline in USDA’s nationwide rating and in estimates based on state-by-state ratings,” he said. “Those models project average yields of 48.3 bu. per acre and 47.2 bpa, respectively.”

Spring wheat is now 95% harvested -- ahead of the five-year average of 87%. Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota are all slightly ahead of schedule, with Washington slightly behind.

The 2017-18 winter wheat crop is just beginning to be planted. At 5% completed, the crop is lockstep with last year’s crop and just 1% behind the five-year average.

The 2017 sorghum harvest advanced just 1% from last week, and the total harvested is at 24%, slightly behind the five-year average of 27%. Sixty-three percent of the crop is rated good to excellent, up slightly from a week ago.

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