Corn Belt crop conditions decline along with topsoil moisture
Two of every three corn fields in Illinois are rated in poor or very poor condition, says USDA in the July 23 crop progress report, as the national corn crop continues to decline. Although Illinois produces more corn than some other states, their ratings are even worse.
For example, 71 percent of Indiana corn is rated poor to very poor, and 78 percent of Missouri corn is poor to very poor. The ratings were released moments after the market closed with substantial losses in commodity prices, but those declines continued into the overnight trading session. Details follow.
Nationally, the 2012 corn crop is rated 45 percent poor to very poor and only 26 percent good to excellent. That represents a 7 percent slide into the bottom categories from last week, and 5 percent sliding out of the top category from the prior week. Nationally, soybeans were rated 35 percent in poor to very poor condition and 34 percent in good to excellent. That represents a 5 percent slide into the bottom categories and a 3 percent slide out of the top categories. The numbers were listed in the July 23 USDA Crop Progress and Condition Report.
As indicated in Illinois, 66 percent of the corn crop is rated poor to very poor, a function of the fact that 99 percent of the topsoil is rated short or very short of soil moisture. Subsoil moisture is 97 percent short to very short. USDA says Corn conditions continued declining and were rated at 36 percent very poor, 30 percent poor, 27 percent fair, and 7 percent good. There were several reports from southern areas of producers cutting corn originally intended for grain into silage or even disking it under. Soybean conditions were rated at 24 percent very poor, 25 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 12 percent good, and 1 percent excellent.
Indiana remains the epicenter of the drought, but rain arrived in some of the worst areas in the past week, but well short of what was needed to break the drought. 71 percent of the corn is poor to very poor and only 7 percent is good to excellent. 53 percent of the soybeans are poor to very poor and 12 percent good to excellent. 89 percent of pastures are poor to very poor. 68 percent of the topsoil is sort of moisture, an improvement from the 77 percent a week ago. But over 70 percent of subsoil moisture remains in a water deficit situation.
Iowa reported another hot and dry week without precipitation and reports of some farmers beginning to chop corn. Topsoil moisture levels declined to 74 percent very short, 23 percent short and 3 percent adequate. Corn condition is reported at 14 percent very poor, 26 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 21 percent good, and 2 percent excellent. Soybean condition is rated 10 percent very poor, 20 percent poor, 42 percent fair, 25 percent good, and 3 percent excellent. State climatologist Harry Hillaker said, “This now has been the hottest start for July and the summer season since 1936. Iowa has now recorded below normal rainfall for ten of the past eleven weeks and above normal temperatures for eleven of the past twelve weeks.”