Market News & Headlines >> Corn, Soy Crops Off to Good Start

U.S. planting progress was slowed last week by wet conditions in parts of the Midwest, but the U.S. corn and soybean crops are off to a good start based on crop condition ratings in Monday afternoon’s USDA’s weekly Crop Progress report. 

USDA rated U.S. corn conditions 74% good/excellent as of Sunday, up four percentage points from a year earlier and three points above the average of trade expectations in a Reuters News Service survey. Crop conditions were rated 82% good/excellent or better in three of the top four producing states - Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska, while the Illinois crop was rated only 56% good/excellent.

USDA’s first soybean crop rating of the 2020 growing season came in at 70% good/excellent, compared with trade estimates averaging 68% in a range from 64%-71%. The soybean crop rating was above the five-year average for USDA's initial rating of the season, which was 67% good/excellent.

U.S. corn planting progress was pegged by USDA at 93%, up from last year’s 64% and the five-year average pace of 89%, but a point below the average of trade estimates. An estimated 78% of the U.S. corn crop was emerged versus only 42% last year and the average pace of 73%. 

USDA put U.S. soybean planting progress at 75% complete, up from just 36% last year and the average pace of 68%, but 4 points below the average of trade expectations. Some 52% of the crop was said to be emerged versus just 17% a year earlier and the average of 44%. 

The only significant planting delays are in North Dakota, with that state’s corn crop only 75% planted as of Sunday versus a five-year average of 90% and its soybean crop was only 51% planted versus an average of 80%. Some North Dakota corn acreage will no doubt shift to soybeans due to planting delays. Meanwhile, soybean planting should be advancing rapidly there this week as the state was largely dry during the week ended Wednesday.