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CROP PROGRESS: Spring wheat takes another hit

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Corn slips one point to 67% good/excellent condition, while first soybean rating is 65% good/excellent.

The condition rating for spring wheat dropped for the second straight week, the latest being a 10-point tumble to 45% good to excellent -- well under many trade forecasts -- with declines noted in the Dakotas, where dry conditions continued to hurt the crop.

The winter wheat crop condition improved slightly to 50% good/excellent. That crop was 17% harvested, which was ahead of last year and the five-year average.

Corn slipped one point to 68% good/excellent in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly progress report, hurt by slippage in Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska and North Dakota. The North Dakota crop’s condition tumbled nine points to 58% good/excellent. Corn in Iowa was unchanged, while Ohio’s improved one point to 50% good/excellent.

The first soybean rating of the season was 65% good/excellent, which was down from 74% last year.

In other tallies, corn emergence reached 94% to match the average; soybean emergence was 77% versus the 73% average, and the winter wheat harvest was 17% completed versus the 15% average.

“Another big drop in spring wheat conditions matched the decline in Vegetation Health Index maps this week, pointing to yield losses topping 3 bpa (bu. per acre), on average,” said Bryce Knorr, Farm Futures senior grain analyst. “Farm Futures’ models put the spring wheat crop between 42.5 and 43.4 bpa nationwide. That suggests the all-wheat crop could be 20 million to 30 million bu. less than USDA forecasts and should provide some support to Minneapolis (Minn.) futures.”

Winter wheat improved slightly, but not enough to offset the potential decline in spring wheat, Knorr said.

“Corn ratings edged lower, taking 1.7 bpa off yield potential, but projections remain fairly strong. Our models based on ratings put the yield between 168 and 170 bpa -- a little less than the statistical trend yield USDA has plugged into its production forecasts,” he said.

“Initial soybean ratings were fairly good, pointing to yields around 49 bpa. That’s below the record level of 2016 but still above the trend plugged into USDA forecasts,” Knorr added.

North Dakota’s state report blamed the decline in corn and wheat ratings on dry conditions, explaining: “North Dakota received little to no rain, while parts of the east received up to an inch. However, many areas receiving rain were still short and need additional moisture soon to help crop development. Temperatures for the week averaged two to eight degrees above normal.”

The spring wheat crop in North Dakota slipped nine points to 43% good/excellent, and South Dakota’s dropped 12 points to 13%.

Nationally, sorghum was 71% planted versus the 73% average and 77% headed versus the 73% average.

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