Market News & Headlines >> Lower-than-Expected Crop Ratings Stoke Production Concerns

USDA’s first rating of U.S. 2021 soybean conditions came in lower than expected, while the weekly corn crop rating dropped more than expected boosting crop concerns and providing fresh support for prices.

USDA in Monday afternoon’s weekly Crop Progress report pegged U.S. soybean crop condition at 67% good/excellent, compared with trade estimates that averaged 70% in a range from 64%-75%, according to a Reuters News Service survey. The U.S. crop rating was also below last year’s initial rating of 70%, but was on par with the five-year average for the first rating of the season.

The U.S. crop rating was brought down by a North Dakota crop rating of just 25% good/excellent and a South Dakota rating of 45% good/excellent, which helped feed worries about drought conditions in the Dakotas. Looking at the top producing states, USDA’s crop ratings were higher than the U.S. average. USDA rated both Iowa and Illinois soybean conditions 73% good/excellent and put Minnesota conditions at 70% good/excellent with Nebraska conditions at 86% good/excellent and Indiana conditions at 74% good/excellent.

USDA pegged soybean planting progress as of Sunday at 90% up from 84% a week earlier and ahead of the five-year average of 79%. An estimated 76% of the crop was said to be emerged well ahead of the five-year average of 59%.

USDA’s U.S. corn crop condition rating fell to 72% good/excellent from 76 points a week earlier, coming in toward the low end of trade expectations that averaged 74% in a range from 72%-75%, according to the Reuters survey. The good/excellent rating was below the year-earlier level of 75%.

Conditions in the top growing state of Iowa were rated 77% good/excellent down from 81% a week earlier, with Illinois crop conditions rated 74% good/excellent, down from 80% previously. Conditions in Nebraska were 84% good/excellent, down from 88% a week earlier, while Minnesota conditions were rated 69% good/excellent down from 76% previously.

By far, the biggest deterioration in crop conditions was in South Dakota, where the crop was rated only 46% good/excellent down from 67% a week earlier. The North Dakota crop was rated only 42% good/excellent, down from 48% a week earlier.

USDA estimated that 90% of the U.S. corn crop was emerged, ahead of last year’s 87% and the five-year average of 82%.