Market News & Headlines >> U.S. Corn Crop Rating Strong; Soil Moisture Concerning

USDA’s first U.S. corn crop condition ratings of the new growing season were some of the strongest on record for late May, with 76% of the crop rated in good/excellent condition, but soil moisture levels across the western Corn Belt  remain a source of crop concerns.

The crop rating toward the high end of trade expectations that averaged 70% good/excellent in a wide range from 64%-78%, according to a Reuters News Service survey. The rating tied with 2010 for the fifth highest on record for the end of week 21 of the year, according to National Agricultural Statistics Service data going back to 1986.

Crop condition ratings were generally even higher in the top producing states. The Nebraska corn crop was rated 88% good/excellent, with the Iowa crop rated 81% good/excellent, the Illinois crop rated 80% good/excellent and the Minnesota crop 76% good/excellent.

On the other end of the scale, the North Dakota crop was rated only 48% good/excellent as drought conditions in that state continue to hurt early crop development.

USDA estimated that U.S. corn planting was 95% complete as of May 30, ahead of the five-year-average of 87%, with 81% of the crop emerged versus an average pace of 70%.

USDA is set to release its first soybean crop ratings of the season in next Monday’s crop progress report. The agency estimated soybean planting was 85% complete as of May 30, at the low end of trade estimates that averaged 87% in a range from 85-89%, according to the Reuters survey. An estimated 62% of the U.S. crop was emerged, well ahead of the five-year average of 42%.