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Corn is Catching Up

Latest USDA Crop Progress report shows that corn is closer to average, but maturity still lags. Soybean condition slips.

Published on: Sep 17, 2013

It's a weather and countdown watch for the 2013 corn and soybean crop as farmers tune up combines and start rolling. What yields they'll find remains to be seen, but according to the latest USDA Crop Condition report, corn is catching up as warm weather finally appeared in August.

Corn condition slid only a point from last week and already combines are rolling with 4% of the crop harvested, USDA reports. That compared to a five-year average of 10% by now. While corn is 81% dented and nearing normal, only 22% is mature versus 41% on average. It's a waiting game now as temperatures have cooled again.

SLIDING CONDITION: Corn crop condition slides, and traders are watching.
SLIDING CONDITION: Corn crop condition slides, and traders are watching.

Timely rains fell across the northern Midwest over the weekend, which may have helped corn that hasn't started to senesce. Any grain fill the crop can get will help.

For soybeans, the waiting game is harder with the crop late and volatile weather bouncing plants around like with hot, then cool the hot again. About 26% of soybeans are dropping leaves according to the USDA report, which is behind the 35% average. and condition slid another 2 percentage points dropping to 18% poor to very poor from 16% last week. It's a minor drop, but something traders may be watching as the crop progresses.

Last week's crop report numbers, which peeled back the expected yield, has done little for the price. In this weather market anything is possible.

Winter wheat planting is running average so far with 12% of the crop in. Major producers will start firing up their planters in the next week or two as they prep fields for the 2014 crop. Many states are lagging the five-year average - for example only 22% of Nebraska's crop is in versus 30% on average. The late harvest for other crops will weigh in on these acres in some areas.

Pasture and rangeland conditions are slipping a little more as the Western drought continues. 37% of that ground is listed as poor to very poor with some states having significantly bad years. California, for example, lists 100% of its range and pasture as poor to very poor. In Iowa, the figure isn't much better with 63% of pasture and range listed in poor to very poor condition.

Keep up with crop conditions and yield estimates on the Farm Futures Statistical Tables and Charts page.