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USDA crop progress: Corn quality falls, while soybean quality improves

Willard/iStock/GettyImages Corn and soybean fields in Minnesota below dramatic clouds in late afternoon sunlight
USDA continues to shift ratings for the week ending August 9.

Analysts were expecting to see crop ratings for soybeans fall a point when USDA released its latest crop progress report Monday afternoon, but the agency failed to comply with those expectations – adding a point instead. Analysts also anticipated corn quality ratings would hold steady, but they fell by a point this past week.

Through Sunday, 71% of this year’s corn crop is now rated in good-to-excellent condition, down from 72% a week ago. Another 21% is rated fair (steady from last week), with the remaining 8% rated poor or very poor (up a point from last week). Statewide ratings still vary widely. Colorado sits on the lower end of the quality spectrum (40% G/E), while Kentucky (87% G/E) now claims top “garden spot” status among the top 18 production states.

Physiologically, nearly all (97%) of the crop has reached the silking stage, which is mostly in line with the prior five-year average of 95%. More than half (59%) is now at dough stage, versus 39% a week ago and moderately ahead of the prior five-year average of 52%. Eleven percent of the crop is dented, which is slightly behind the prior five-year average of 12%, meantime.

Soybean quality ratings moved higher – bucking expectations – going from 73% rated in good-to-excellent condition up to 74% by August 9. Another 21% is rated fair (unchanged from last week), with the remaining 5% rated poor or very poor (down a point from last week). Louisiana (86%) and South Dakota (85%) have the highest quality ratings among the top 18 production states.

Crop maturity is progressing a bit faster than it has in recent years. Ninety-two percent of the crop is now blooming, versus the prior five-year average of 89%. And 75% of the crop is now setting pods, also besting the prior five-year average of 68%.

Spring wheat quality ratings took a spill, moving from 73% rated in good-to-excellent condition a week ago down to 69% this past week. Another 24% is rated fair (up two points from last week), with the remaining 7% rated poor or very poor (also up two points from last week). Harvest pace is progressing slower than usual, at 15% complete. The prior five-year average is 25%.

Winter wheat harvest is also slightly behind the prior five-year average of 95%, reaching 90% completion through Sunday. That is up from 85% a week ago and slightly ahead of 2019’s pace of 87%.

Click here for updates on additional crops, including sorghum, cotton, barley, pasture and range conditions, and more.

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