USDA: Crop conditions take another hit

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The combination of drought and heat gave the nation’s corn and soybean crops a powerful one-two punch this week, lowering crop conditions by 7 percentage points for corn and 3 points for soybeans according to the USDA’s latest Crop Progress report. Though corn silking has doubled this week to 10 percent, the impending drought has taken center stage.

Corn conditions impacted by dry weather
Fifty-six percent of the country’s corn crops were rated in “good” to “excellent” condition, which is 7 percentage points lower than last week’s report and 12 points lower than 2011’s report:

Very Poor





18 States






Last week






Previous year






Indiana now has 36 percent of corn rated in “poor” to “very poor” condition, the highest percentage reported. Kentucky (26 percent), Missouri (26 percent), Tennessee (23 percent) and Illinois (22 percent) also reported struggling crops. Forecast rain for the region fell short over the weekend, directly impacting the crops.  

Forecast rain for the region fell short over the weekend, directly impacting the crops. As a result, corn futures closed 40 cents higher on Monday. Corn futures reached limit-up positions by midday on these hot and dry weather fears.

"Unless we get some decent rains soon the corn crop is in trouble. Come Monday with no rains, we could be sharply higher," a veteran Chicago Board of Trade trader told Reuters.  The National Weather Service released their Seasonal Drought Outlook last week, which expected most of the region to remain under drought conditions through the end of September, just in time for harvest. Read more here.


A few states did show signs of successful crops, with North Dakota leading the pack with 91 percent of corn rated in “good” to “excellent” condition. Pennsylvania (86 percent) and Minnesota (83 percent) also reported a high percentage of highly-rated corn.

Soybean status: Blooming but struggling
Like corn, soybeans are fighting against Mother Nature’s double-whammy of both hot and dry conditions. Twelve percent of soybeans are blooming, more than doubled last week’s report of 5 percent. Mississippi reported the highest percentage of blooming corn at 66 percent, with Louisiana and Arkansas close behind at 46 and 44 percent.

Nationally, soybean condition ratings fell by just 3 percentage points. Though a decline, soybean’s fall is dwarfed by the plunge in corn conditions. Fifty-three percent of soybeans are rated in “good” to “excellent” condition, compared to 56 percent last week and 65 percent last year. North Dakota and Mississippi reported the highest percentages of positively rated soybeans.

States struggling against the dry, hot weather include Indiana and Missouri. See how your state did here.

On Monday soybean futures traded 40 to 50 cents higher, pressured by the unfavorable weather forecasts.

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