USDA Weekly Crop Progress: Corn condition plummets

Jul 6, 2012
by DTN

For the fourth week in a row, the nation’s corn and soybean conditions declined on USDA’s weekly Crop Progress and Condition report. And this week, the decline picked up some steam from the continued hot and dry weather.

Corn in the very poor to poor category increased eight percentage points to 22 percent and corn rated good-to-excellent dropped a like amount to 48 percent.

“The DTN Corn Condition Index continues to collapse with last week seeing a 30-point drop to 105 points,” said DTN Analyst John Sanow. “Traders were anticipating a 5 percentage point drop in good to excellent ratings.

“This report should be considered bullish and could lead to another strong open when trade resumes at 5 p.m. CDT, with a test of the contract high of $6.73 1/2 by the new-crop December issue not out of the question.”

Twenty-five percent of the nation’s corn crop was silking, compared to 10 percent last week and an 8 percent five-year average. “Silking reached 25 percent, meaning the crop continues to suffer through hot, dry conditions during critical maturation,” Sanow said. “This, combined with the worsening condition ratings, point to a national yield well below USDA’s 166 bushels per acre (bpa), possibly below the 10-year average on the south side of 150 bpa.”

Twenty-two percent of the nation’s soybeans were also rated very poor to poor, up seven percentage points from a week ago. The percentage of the crop rated good to excellent fell 8 points.

“As with corn, the health of the soybean crop continues to deteriorate at a rapid clip,” Sanow said. “The DTN Soybean Condition Index fell another 27 index points last week to 100 points with the good to excellent rating dropping 8 percentage points as compared to analysts’ expectations for a 3 percentage point decline.

“This report should be considered bullish and should lead to a fresh round of buying interest from both sides of the market when the CME Globex session opens.”

Twenty-six percent of the soybeans were blooming, compared to 12 percent last week and a 12 percent average.

Spring wheat is 73 percent headed, compared to 57 percent last week and 35 percent on average. “The DTN HRS Condition Index declined 12 points from the previous week to 172 points,” Sanow said, “which could be an indication of the browning effect rather than a change in the actual health of the crop.” The browning effect refers to a tendency to rate the crop in worse condition as it turns brown before harvest.

Winter wheat harvest continues to move at a fast clip with 69 percent of crop reportedly cut, as compared to the average pace of 43 percent. Winter wheat is 69 percent harvested, compared to 59 percent last week and 43 percent on average. “This report will mostly be ignored by traders with wheat likely to keep its wagon hitched to the corn and bean markets,” Sanow said.

The following are highlights from weekly crop progress reports issued last Monday by National Ag Statistics Service offices in individual states.


Drought conditions prevailed across Colorado.

Little to no rainfall was recorded with record-high temperatures in several areas. Topsoil moisture was rated 69 percent very short, 24 percent short, 7 percent adequate and no surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated at 58 percent very short, 34 percent short, 8 percent adequate and no surplus. Corn progressed to 5 percent silked with a 34 percent good-to-excellent crop condition rating. Winter wheat was 98 percent ripe, 58 percentage points ahead of the five-year average. The crop was rated 43 percent in good condition.

Spring wheat was 66 percent headed and 11 percent turning color.


Statewide temperature averaged 78.2 degrees Fahrenheit, 3.9 degrees above normal and rainfall increased slightly to 0.28 inch, but was still 0.62 inch below historic average. Topsoil moisture level continued to be a major concern.

It was rated at 52 percent very short, 37 percent short, 1 percent adequate and no surplus. Corn conditions were rated at 12 percent very poor, 21 percent poor, 41 percent fair, 23 percent good and 3 percent excellent. Corn had reached 46 percent silked, compared to the five-year average of 15 percent. The soybean crop withstood the conditions slightly better than the corn crop with 11 percent very poor, 20 percent poor, 41 percent fair, 26 percent good and 2 percent excellent. The soybean crop was 25 percent blooming. Wheat harvested was nearly complete with 96 percent harvested, ahead of the 63 percent five-year average.


Triple-digit temperatures and dry conditions continued to cause additional stress on crops. Only 1.29 inches of rain fell across the state during June, the third driest reported in Indiana history, according to records dated back to 1930. Topsoil moisture was rated 62 percent very short, 29 percent short, 9 percent adequate and no surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 54 percent very short, 38 percent short, 8 percent adequate and no surplus. Thirty percent of corn was silked, compared to 0 percent last year at this time. Corn conditions dropped to 19 percent rated good to excellent, the worst condition rating recorded since 1988. Soybeans were 2 percent bloomed with a crop rating of 20 percent good to excellent and 43 percent poor to very poor.


Iowa experienced mostly sunny and hot conditions with record-high temperatures. Precipitation fell in the early and late parts of the week, but additional rain is needed to relieve stress on crops and improve conditions. Topsoil moisture declined to 28 percent very short, 45 percent short, 27 percent adequate and no surplus. South-central Iowa was the driest with 91 percent of the topsoil moisture rated short to very short. Subsoil moisture dropped to 24 percent very short, 49 percent short, 27 percent adequate and no surplus. Crop conditions declined for all crops.

Corn was 16 percent silked and reported 62 percent in good to excellent condition. Soybeans were 26 percent bloomed and 59 percent good to excellent condition.


Several stations set national high temperatures and broke records that have stood for more than 100 years. There was an average 6.7 days suitable for field work due to only scattered precipitation. Lack of rainfall caused topsoil moisture supplies to decline significantly to 40 percent very short, 41 percent short, 19 percent adequate and no surplus.

Subsoil moisture supplies also declined to 37 percent very short, 42 percent short, 21 percent adequate and no surplus. Corn was 45 percent silked, 34 percentage points ahead of last year. The crop was rated 24 percent good and 2 percent excellent condition. Sixteen percent of soybeans were blooming, roughly a week ahead of last year. Soybean crop conditions declined to 29 percent good and 1 percent excellent. Winter wheat was all harvested with the exception of a few fields. On average, only 63 percent of wheat had been harvested at this time.


Minnesota experienced mostly hot and dry weather. Statewide, temperatures averaged 4 degrees above normal and precipitation occurred in localized areas. Pipestone recorded the greatest weekly rainfall with 0.74 inch. Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 78 percent adequate to surplus, down 94 percent from a week earlier. Five percent of corn was silked, compared to 0 percent last year and the 1 percent average. Corn conditions dropped 1 percentage point from last week to 82 percent rated good to excellent.

Soybeans were 26 percent bloomed and 74 percent rated in good to excellent condition.


High temperatures and no precipitation across much of the state took its toll on crops. Topsoil moisture declined to its lowest point this year at 71 percent very short, 26 percent short, 3 percent adequate and no surplus. The fiveyear average topsoil moisture condition is 20 percent very short to short and 80 percent adequate to surplus. Subsoil moisture also declined to 58 percent very short, 35 percent short, 7 percent adequate, and no surplus. Corn was 56 percent silked, 12 days ahead of last year and the fiveyear average. Corn condition was 19 percent very poor, 29 percent poor, 34 percent fair, 17 percent good and 1 percent excellent. Soybeans were 96 percent emerged and 11 percent blooming. Soybean condition was rated 18 percent good to excellent.


High temperatures and limited rainfall depleted soil moisture levels and decreased crop conditions.

Topsoil moisture levels were rated 29 percent very short, 50 percent short, 21 percent adequate and no surplus. Subsoil moisture levels were 25 percent very short, 54 percent short, 21 percent adequate and no surplus. Corn was 25 percent silked. The crop conditions were rated 48 percent good and 8 percent excellent, well below the five-year average of 80 percent good to excellent. Soybeans blooming was 25 percent with crop conditions rated 45 percent good to excellent.

North Dakota

The heat wave exhausted soil moisture levels and stressed crops throughout much of North Dakota. Statewide, there was an average of 6.6 days available for field work. Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 7 percent very short, 38 percent short, 54 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 5 percent very short, 28 percent short, 65 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Spring wheat was 82 percent headed and 42 percent in the milk stage. Eighty percent of the barley crop was headed and 41 percent was jointed. Corn conditions dropped to 73 percent rated good and 8 percent excellent. Soybean conditions fell to 69 percent good and 8 percent excellent.


Average high temperatures ranged from 98 to 105 degrees across the state. Almost all of Oklahoma was considered abnormally dry according to the June 26 Drought Monitor. Very little precipitation provided no relief for droughtstressed crops. There were 6.8 average days suitable for field work. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated mostly short, with 25 percent rated very short. Subsoil moisture conditions were rated mostly short to very short, with 24 percent rated adequate. Sixty percent of corn was silked and 17 percent had reached the dough stage. Corn conditions were rated 59 percent good to excellent. Soybean planting was virtually complete with 93 percent of the crop emerged. Eight percent of soybeans were blooming. Thirty-five percent of soybeans were rated in good condition.

South Dakota

With 6.7 days suitable for field work, crop progress was still ahead of average but crop conditions continued to fall with little or no moisture received. Temperatures averaged upper 70s to low 80s. Topsoil moisture was rated at 28 percent in adequate to surplus, 47 percent short and 25 percent very short. Subsoil moisture was rated at 35 percent adequate to surplus, 42 percent short and 23 percent very short. Winter wheat progressed to 11 percent harvested. Corn was 4 percent silked with an average height of 43 inches. Soybeans were at 29 percent blooming, ahead of the five-year average of 8 percent. Spring wheat was 65 percent turning color with 1 percent ripe.


Areas of the High Plains, the Upper Coast, South Texas and the Lower Valley received up to 6 inches of rainfall, while the rest of the state received little to no rainfall. Corn was stressed due to earlier hail storms in the Northern High Plains. Sixty-seven percent of corn was silked. Soybeans blooming was at 55 percent. Irrigated cotton progressed well in the High Plains due to receiving many heat units from high temperatures. However, dry-land cotton was stressed.


Another week without rain dried out fields across the state and intensified drought conditions for southern Wisconsin. Temperatures in the 90s boosted crop growth in areas with adequate moisture. Soil moisture conditions were 70 percent or more short to very short in five of the nine reporting districts. Corn had an average height of 40 inches statewide, but was reportedly uneven in some areas. The crop was rated in 50 percent good to excellent condition. Soybeans were 3 percent blooming and had a crop rating of 49 percent good to excellent. Oats were 96 percent headed with 2 percent harvested. — DTN