According to the latest crop progress report from USDA, corn crop condition from a week ago was unchanged, with 61% of the crop rated good to excellent. However, also pay attention to the crop’s maturity, which has slipped moderately behind the five-year average. The 2017 crop is 21% mature, versus 31% for the five-year average.
The percent of the corn crop in dough and dented phases are also behind the five-year averages, but less significantly so. A total of 96% of the 2017 crop is at dough stage – just 1% behind the five-year average. And 75% has reached the dented stage, compared to 85% a year ago and 81% for the five-year average.
Harvest itself has barely begun, at 5% complete – neck-and-neck with the five-year average of 6%. Harvest is not uniformly ahead or behind, however. Of the five states furthest along, Texas (60%), North Carolina (56%) and Kentucky (22%) are ahead of schedule, while Tennessee (26%), Missouri (12%) and Kansas (10%) are running behind.
Corn ratings held steady this week on the national level, but there was little improvement on state-by-state maps, according to Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr.
“Our model using state ratings puts corn yields at 164.6 bpa, with the projection based on the nationwide rating at 165.6,” he said.
Soybean ratings slipped by 1%, moving its good-to-excellent amount from 61% to 60%.
A lot of Mid-South production is tracking above the national average for good-to-excellent soybeans, including Tennessee (79%), Kentucky (75%) and Arkansas (68%). However, recent heavy rains in the area lowered some of those ratings from a week ago. Some upper-Midwest states are also strong performers as the season winds down, including Wisconsin (77%) and Minnesota (72%).
Knorr said Farm Futures models built on USDA’s crop ratings are showing lower yield potential.
“Yield projections were lower based on the decline in USDA’s nationwide rating, and in estimates based on state-by-state ratings,” he said. “Those models project average yields of 48.3 bushels per acre and 47.2 bpa, respectively.”
Spring wheat is now 95% harvested, ahead of the five-year average of 87%. Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota are all slightly ahead of schedule, with Washington slightly behind.
The 2017-18 winter wheat crop is just beginning to be planted. At 5% complete, the crop is lock-step with last year’s crop and just 1% behind the five-year average.
The 2017 sorghum harvest advanced just 1% from last week. Total harvested is at 24%, slightly behind the five-year average of 27%. Sixty-three percent of the crop is rated good to excellent, up slightly from a week ago.