The USDA’s latest Crop Progress report shows corn conditions holding steady with an amazing 76% in good or better condition, unchanged for the fourth consecutive report.
This pace is 6 percentage points ahead of last year’s report and the highest percentage of corn in these conditions since 2004. Soybean conditions are also faring well with 72% in good or excellent condition – compared to 71% last week and 63% last year.
But are these conditions as good as the USDA is reporting? Reuters looked at why these ratings may not be as great as what initially meets the eye.
“The problem with crop conditions is that they mask the fact that the weather this season thus far has certainly been different than the previous two,” Karen Braun with Reuters reported.
She warned that nighttime temperatures and conditions will be crucial for corn through the end of August. As Braun stressed, “The warmer the overnight low temperatures become, the greater the potential for kernel density to shrink.”
Looking at crop development, corn silking (91%) and dough (30%) are considerably higher than the five-year average and 2015 pace. Soybeans are also faring well, with 85% blooming and 54% setting pods – both at least 6 percentage points ahead of last year’s report.