USDA: Rain too little, too late as corn conditions dip again

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Despite lower temperatures and spotty showers for some areas in the Corn Belt, the USDA again dropped crop conditions for the nation’s top corn-producing states.  According to the latest Crop Progress report, 50 percent of corn is in poor and very condition, marking the 10th consecutive report of declining corn conditions.

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Sixty-one percent of corn has now reached the dough stage, and 26 percent has dented. Both are well above the five year average of 30 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Six percent of corn has matured, which is well above last year’s pace of 2 percent.

Despite the progress made, all eyes are on the corn condition, which shows the devastating impact of the 2012 drought. This drought is currently the worst since 1956.   The drought is expected to cost at least $12 billion. In 1988, the drought caused $78 billion in damages. Read more here.

Rain did bring minimal relief to areas of the Corn Belt over the weekend, though it may not be enough to save the crops.

“Increased rainfall in portions of the Corn Belt came too late to benefit most fields, as producers continued to chop corn for silage,” the Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin reported last week.

More rain is expected for the region this week, which will help relieve stress on crops, mostly soybeans.

"It's an improved forecast, not a perfect one," said John Dee, meteorologist for Global Weather Monitoring, told Reuters. "I wasn't so surprised about the amounts of rain, but the 85 percent coverage was better than expected."

Even with the rain, the USDA reported a drop in nation’s corn conditions:

 

Very Poor

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

This week

25

25

27

20

3

Last week

23

25

28

21

3

Last year

6

10

24

45

15


This is a drop of 25 percentage points since the July 2 report.

Of the states, 6 have reported none or 1 percent of corn in good and excellent condition. Illinois and Indiana both reported 0 percent of corn in excellent condition.

click image to zoomcorn conditions Four states – Missouri (84 percent), Kentucky (77 percent), Illinois (74 percent) and Indiana (73 percent) – showed at least 70 percent of corn in poor and very poor condition.  See how your state’s corn is rated here.

Many experts, analysts and producers have compared this year with 1988. The latest Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin showed that the corn conditions have steadily declined since early June, which now makes it on the same course as the 1988 report.

The chart to the right shows the decline of the 2012 corn conditions compared to reports from 1988, 2002 and 2011.

When compared to the 1988 report, many states are similar – if not worse than – the Crop Progress report from August 7, 1988:  

Illinois:

 

Very Poor

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

August 6, 2012

42

32

22

4

0

August 7, 1988

20

47

30

3

0


Indiana:

 

Very Poor

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

August 6, 2012

42

31

20

7

0

August 7, 1988

16

41

39

4

0


Kansas:

 

Very Poor

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

August 6, 2012

37

32

22

8

1

August 7, 1988

6

21

11

48

14


Missouri:

 

Very Poor

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

August 6, 2012

56

28

11

3

2

August 7, 1988

29

39

24

7

1


U.S.:

 

Very Poor

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

August 6, 2012

25

25

27

20

3

August 7, 1988

18

33

31

15

3

 

The USDA will release its first crop production estimated on August 10, and they will likely be aggressive in lowering the yield. Even so, there is uncertainty over harvest acreage since many corn fields have already been chopped for livestock feed.

Analysts with Doane Advisory Services recently completed a 3,000-mile crop tour, looking at the crop conditions across many of the nation’s key corn and soybean producing states. They have released a corn yield forecast of 10.792 billion bushels.  

Soybeans: 71 percent setting pods
Ninety-three percent of soybeans have now bloomed, and 71 percent have set pods. Both are above last year’s report of 84 percent (blooming) and 46 percent (setting pods). Like corn conditions, soybean conditions have also taken a hit this year. Thirty-nine percent of soybeans are in poor and very condition:

 

Very Poor

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

This week

16

23

32

25

4

Last week

15

22

34

26

3

Last year

4

9

26

48

13


The shift in this week’s report indicates that more crops are now progressing from fair to poor or very poor. The percent of soybeans in good and excellent condition remained steady at 29 percent. Seven states – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio – have reported just 1 percent of soybeans in excellent condition.

Erin FitzPatrick, Rabobank analyst, suggests that rains in the near future could improve soybean yields. Even so, the drought has taken its toll on the crops.

"In case of corn it seems that the damage was done," FitzPatrick told Reuters. "For soybeans, I doubt that yields could be much higher than expected considering early plantings."



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