With another week of mostly agreeable crop-producing weather under the belt this past week, corn condition improved again, per the latest USDA crop progress report, out Monday afternoon.
Crop quality improved to 58% in good-to-excellent condition for the week ending September 1, according to USDA. That’s up from 57% a week ago and the second-straight week of better conditions.
“Corn yield potential continues to inch forward, despite concerns over delayed development,” according to Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr. “Our forecast of yields based on these weekly ratings gained about a half-bushel per acre on average, with the average of the two projections reaching its highest point since the end of July at 169.9 bushels per acre. Ratings have been consistent through most of the growing season, with this week’s range from 168.6 to 171.1 bpa.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, corn maturity has been unable to catch up from its historically late start this spring. Last week, 81% reached dough stage, versus a five-year average of 93%. Just 41% of the crop is now dented, versus a five-year average of 63%. And 6% is now rated mature, versus a five-year average of 13%. With frost statistically unlikely (but possible) in September, that gives the crop several more weeks of safe passage, however.
Analysts also expected soybean quality to gain a point this past week, but USDA elected to hold ratings steady at 55% in good-to-excellent condition. Another 32% of the crop is rated fair, with the remaining 13% rated poor or very poor – also unchanged from a week ago.
“Soybean yield potential was little changed,” Knorr says. “USDA made no change it nationwide ratings but state-by-state conditions suggest slight improvement, taking the average projected yield to 50.2 bpa, in a range from 49.9 to 50.6 bpa.”
As of Sunday, 96% of the crop is now blooming, which is up from the prior week’s tally of 94%. However, in a typical year, all of the crop is blooming by the first of September. And 86% of the crop is now setting pods, versus a five-year average of 96%.
Spring wheat condition fell two points last week to 67% in good-to-excellent condition, despite analyst expectations that it would hold steady at 69%. Another 25% is rated fair (unchanged from a week ago), with the remaining 8% rated poor or very poor (up two points from a week ago).
“Spring wheat yield hopes deteriorated again, reflecting weather delays on the slow pace of planting,” Knorr says. “The average yield projected from the ratings slipped around a half bushel, with the mid-point of the two models at 49.8 bpa – still sixth-tenths of a bushel above the yield reported Aug. 12 by USDA. The two models ranged from 49.2 bpa to 50.5 bpa.”
Harvest progress moved a bit slower than analyst estimates last week, too, reaching 55% completion. That showed some momentum from the prior week’s progress of 38% but remains well behind 2018’s pace of 86% and the five-year average of 78%.
Click here to review the latest full crop progress data set from USDA.