USDA Weekly Crop Progress Report - Corn, Soybean Condition Ratings Up; Development Still Behind Norm

OMAHA (DTN) -- Corn and soybean conditions improved slightly last week, but remain at a seven-year low, according to the latest USDA NASS Crop Progress report released Monday. Development of both crops also remains well behind normal.

As of Sunday, Aug. 25, the U.S. corn crop was rated 57% in good-to-excellent condition, up 1 percentage point from 56% the previous week. That was in line with what traders were expecting this week, said DTN Senior Analyst Dana Mantini.

Corn's current condition rating compares to last year's 68% and is the lowest good-to-excellent rating for this time of year in seven years. Major corn-producing states with the worst good-to-excellent ratings are Indiana, Missouri and Ohio, while states with the best good-to-excellent ratings include Tennessee, Nebraska and North Dakota.

Corn development continued to lag behind the average pace last week. Nationwide, corn in the dough stage was estimated at 71%, up 16 percentage points from 55% the previous week but 16 percentage points behind the five-year average of 87%. That was an improvement from last Monday's report when corn in the dough stage was running 21 percentage points behind average.

Corn dented was 27%, behind last year's 59% and 19 percentage points behind the five-year average of 46%. That was further behind normal than in last Monday's report, when corn dented was 15 percentage points behind average.

"The states furthest behind in corn development are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and South Dakota," Mantini said.

Soybean condition also improved slightly last week. As of Sunday, 55% of the soybean crop was rated good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from 53% the previous week. That was a slightly larger improvement than the 1-percentage-point gain traders had been expecting, Mantini said.

"Major soybean-producing states with the worst good-to-excellent ratings are Indiana, Michigan and Ohio," Mantini said.

The current nationwide soybean condition rating remains below last year's good-to-excellent rating of 66% and continues to be the lowest good-to-excellent rating for this time of year since 2012.

The portion of the soybean crop that was blooming was 94%, 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 96%. That was a slight improvement from last Monday's report when blooming was running 6 percentage points behind average. Soybeans setting pods reached 79% as of Sunday, 12 percentage points behind the average pace of 91%. That was closer to average than in last week's report, when soybeans setting pods was 17 percentage points behind the average pace.

"States where soybean development is the furthest behind average are Indiana, Michigan and Missouri," Mantini said.

Spring wheat harvest picked up steam last week, moving ahead 22 percentage points from the previous week to reach 38% as of Sunday. That was still well behind last year's 75% and 27 percentage points behind the five-year average of 65%.

Sorghum heading reached 86% as of Sunday, behind the five-year average of 90%. Sorghum coloring was estimated at 41%, behind the average of 52%. Sorghum mature was estimated at 22%, behind the average of 30%. Sorghum harvested was estimated at 20%, equal to the five-year average. Oats were 75% harvested, behind the average of 86%.

Cotton setting bolls was 90%, near the five-year average of 91%. Cotton bolls opening was at 28%, ahead of the average of 19%. Cotton condition was rated 43% good to excellent, down 6 percentage points from 49% the previous week. Rice headed was pegged at 96%, near the average of 97%. Rice harvested was 15%, slightly behind the average of 18%.

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