Corn conditions are declining after promising weekend rains disappointed farmers. And while corn maturation is catching up, it’s still a long way from the five-year average.
According to the USDA’s latest “Crop Progress” report, 61 percent of the nation’s corn is in good or better condition, down from 64 percent last week.
Sterling Smith, a futures specialist for Citigroup, accurately predicted the decline, telling Reuters that “it’s a weather market, there’s not much rain across the Midwest.”
Crops in the eastern Corn Belt are faring better than those in the western half, where corn in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri continue to struggle against drought conditions.
The latest “Ag in Drought” reports shows that for these states, rains have failed to quench the thirsty crops. In Kansas, where 28 percent of its corn is in poor or worse condition, 58 percent of the crop is growing within areas experiencing moderate or worse drought.
In nearby Iowa, the country’s top corn- and soybean-producing state, 18 percent of corn is in poor or very poor condition. This is 1 percentage point higher than last week and 3 points higher than the USDA’s July 29 report.
Reuters warns that dry weather could “further lower conditions ratings and interfere with the corn kernel filling process. “
More than half of the country’s corn is at or beyond the dough stage, compared to the five-year average of 65 percent. Eleven percent of corn has dented, compared to 57 percent last week. With drier weather expected to persist through the end of August, some expect corn and soybean yields to be affected.
"Corn yields may be trimmed a little, and I would be surprised if we don't cut soybean yields," said John Dee, a meteorologist for Global Weather Monitoring.
Soybeans are catching up closer to average, with 72 percent setting pods. This is down 9 percentage points from the five-year average but 14 percentage points above last week’s report.
Like corn, however, soybean conditions dropped slightly this week. Sixty-two percent of soybeans are in good or better condition, compared to 64 percent last week. While Kansas corn remains the worst in the nation, Iowa crops top the list for soybeans. Currently, 17 percent of soybeans in Iowa are in poor or very poor condition, compared to 15 percent last week.