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CROP PROGRESS: Corn, soybean, wheat condition ratings all move lower

young corn plant
Spring wheat down again to 35% good/excellent condition.

Corn, soybeans and spring wheat all posted lower condition ratings, as expected, in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest weekly report as hot, dry weather in many areas continued to weigh on crops.

The corn condition rating drop to 65% good/excellent included lower readings in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, the Dakotas and Ohio. Improvements were noted Missouri and Nebraska, USDA said in its weekly progress report.

Soybeans dipped to 62% good/excellent from 64% the week before, with small declines noted in most of the key growing states, including Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska and Ohio. Minnesota showed the only improvement, rising to 73% from 72%.

Spring wheat declined for the sixth straight week, the latest being just a two-point drop to 35% good/excellent as slippage in Idaho, Minnesota and North Dakota more than offset some improvement in Montana. However, Montana’s crop was rated 11% good/excellent versus last week’s 8%.

Winter wheat was 67% harvested, leading the five-year average by two points. The Kansas harvest was at 93% versus the 89% average.

“The decline in corn ratings took 2 bu. per acre (bpa) off our yield forecast, which fell to an average of 168.5 bu. per acre,” said Bryce Knorr, Farm Futures senior grain analyst. “The range in ratings is below USDA’s trend yield, coming in at 168.0 to 169.1 bpa.”

Knorr noted that the decline in corn ratings was widespread, with most states slumping.

“Especially big losses were seen in South Dakota, where temperatures topped 100 (degrees F), knocking 7 (bpa) off yield potential, according to our models,” he said. “The drop in ratings matched the decline in the Vegetation Yield Index for corn, which suggests yields down to the 155 to 164 (bpa) range if conditions don’t improve.”

Hot, dry weather affected Iowa’s corn. “As corn in the state begins pollination, many reporters mentioned the need for rain in the next few weeks,” the Iowa report said.

Soybeans also lost some yield potential, about 0.5 bpa, “according to our model based on ratings that improved only slightly at the far northern and southern ends of the growing region,” Knorr said.

“Iowa sustained the largest decline, losing 1.3 bpa in yield potential. Still, yield potential nationwide remains around average, with the models ranging from 47.9 to 48.5 bpa,” Knorr said of the soybeans.

Spring wheat’s ratings were down in four of the six states surveyed, unchanged in one and up in one.

“Spring wheat ratings tumbled again, falling from the Pacific Northwest through the northern Plains. Our yield estimates based on ratings dropped 2.1 (bpa), on average, with the range from 37.2 to 38.2,” Knorr said.

Knorr added that the conditions have the potential to slash another 22 million bu. off the all-wheat crop, which could be as low as 1.721 billion bu.

“USDA likely won’t go that low in Wednesday’s supply and demand report, because its survey was completed earlier in the month,” he explained.

In other tallies, corn silking reached 19% versus the 27% average, and soybeans setting pods reached 7% versus the 5% average. In Iowa, 7% of corn was silking versus the 20% average , Illinois was at 33% versus the 45% average and Nebraska was at 14% versus the 23% average.

Nationally, sorghum was 28% headed versus the 27% average. The crop was rated 63% good/excellent, up one point from a week ago.

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