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USDA crop progress: Corn quality faces interesting shift

farm fields
Overall ratings drop, but the full picture paints a slightly different story

The latest USDA crop progress report, out Monday afternoon and covering the week through June 27, showed overall corn ratings down again, although the ratio between good and excellent conditions actually improved. Soybeans saw a similar scenario – while the percent of the crop rated in good-to-excellent condition held steady, the amount of corn rated “excellent” tracked a point higher this past week.

Corn quality saw 64% of the crop rated in good-to-excellent condition through Sunday, sliding a point lower from a week ago. However, last week’s good-to-excellent split was 54/11, while the current data suggests a 51/13 split. Even so, analysts were expecting to see a one-point improvement this past week. Another 28% of the crop is rated fair (down a point from last week), with the remaining 8% rated poor or very poor (up two points from last week).

Physiologically, 4% of the crop has reached silking stage, predictably starting in southern states like Tennessee (67%) and North Carolina (52%). The prior nationwide average among the top 18 production states is 6%.

Soybean quality also moved unevenly this past week. While the overall percentage of the crop rated in good-to-excellent condition held steady, at 60%, the ratio moved from 51/9 to 50/10. Like corn ratings, analysts were expecting to see a one-point gain. Another 31% of the crop is rated fair, with the remaining 9% rated poor or very poor – all unchanged from a week ago.

Physiologically, 96% of the crop is now emerged, versus the prior five-year average of 92%. And 14% of the crop is already blooming, up from 5% a week ago and faster than the prior five-year average of 11%.

Winter wheat quality ratings retreated a point lower, with 48% of the crop rated in good-to-excellent condition through Sunday. Another 31% of the crop is rated fair (unchanged from last week), with the remaining 21% rated poor or very poor (up a point from a week ago).

Harvest is moving a bit faster than analysts anticipated, reaching 33% completion versus the average trade guess of 30%. This year’s pace is still behind 2020’s mark of 39% and the prior five-year average of 40%, however.

Spring wheat ratings fell even more than anticipated, losing another seven points with just 20% now rated in good-to-excellent condition. Analysts were expecting to see a two-point drop this past week. Another 41% is rated fair (up five points from last week), with the remaining 39% rated poor or very poor (up two points from a week ago).

Nearly half (48%) of this year’s spring wheat crop is now headed, up from 27% a week ago and coming in much faster than 2020’s pace of 33% and the prior five-year average of 39%.

Click here to read the latest USDA crop progress report for additional information on cotton, rice, peanuts, sorghum, sunflowers and more.

 

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