Market News & Headlines >> U.S. Corn Rating Slips; Soybeans Steady

The condition of the U.S. corn crop deteriorated slightly last week despite seasonally mild temperatures across most of the Midwest as moisture stress mounted in already dry areas of the Corn Belt amid limited rainfall. 

USDA estimated 57% of the U.S. corn crop was in good/excellent condition as of Sunday, down from 58% a week earlier and 14 percentage points below a year earlier. The rating, however, was on par with the average for trade expectations in a Reuters News Service survey. 

Soybean conditions held steady despite the restricted rainfall pattern across most of the Midwest. U.S. soybean conditions were rated 54% good/excellent by USDA for the fourth straight week. The unchanged rating was 1 point above the average of trade expectations, but still 13 points below a year earlier. 

Crop development remains significantly behind normal for both corn and soybeans, clouding crop potential. USDA estimated 78% of the U.S. corn crop was silking as of Sunday, 15 points below the five-year average, while only 23% of the crop had reached the dough stage, just over half of the five-year average of 42%. The portion of the U.S. soybean crop that was blooming was put at 72%, 15 points below the five-year average, while only 37% of the crop was estimated to be setting pods, versus an average pace of 63%. 

Crops continued to struggle in the central and eastern Corn Belt, with late-planted fields likely stressed by a shortage of topsoil moisture in some areas, notably central Illinois. The good/excellent rating for the Illinois corn crop slid 3 percentage points on the week to only 41%, while the portion of the crop rated poor/very poor rose 4 points to 22%. The good/excellent rating for Illinois soybeans held steady at 40%, but the portion of the crop rated poor/very poor rose to 24% from 20% previously.

Nebraska had the highest rated corn crop of top producing states again, but the good/excellent rating there was down 4 points to 71%.  The portion of the Nebraska soybean crop rated good/excellent also slipped 4 points to 70%. 

Meanwhile, the good/excellent rating for the corn crop in top producer Iowa rose 1 point to 66%, while the good/excellent rating for Iowa’s soybean crop jumped 3 points to 65%. Other states were corn and soybean conditions improved on the week included Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan.