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Summary

  • Latest vegetation health index is worse than last year across the Corn Belt.
  • The Southeastern U.S. is in good shape.
  • Outlook is for improvement.

When I flew across the corn belt a year ago this week it looked bleak compared to previous years. As you recall, a cool, wet spring delayed planting.

This year, we had another chilly spring and late planting but the vegetation health index is far worse than 2013. (click to enlarge)

The satellite image data above is from the National Oceanic and Space Administration (NOAA). Values below 40 indicate stress while values greater than 60 are favorable for crops. Much of the corn belt has values between 12 and 48 due, in part, to late planting. Again, it is clear that this year's growth is behind last year.

The conditions across the Southeast are not as good as last year, but they are still adequate. The region from eastern Colorado to the Nebraska panhandle, eastern Wyoming and southeast Montana is in much, much better shape than last year. West Texas is also in better shape than last year. However, eastern Kansas and central Oklahoma has more vegetation stress.

Conditions will gradually improve during the next two weeks. There will be areas where heavy rain and severe thunderstorms across the corn belt will hamper growth.

The overall weather pattern will change very little over the next three weeks. The focus of heavy rain and severe weather will be from eastern Wyoming to Missouri to Kentucky and West Virginia.

Crops to watch: corn (NYSEARCA:CORN), soybeans (NYSEARCA:SOYB), wheat (NYSEARCA:WEAT) and associated agricultural equities.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: No specific equity and commodity recommendations are made or implied. The weather and climate information is for information only and reflects data I use.

Source: Crop Health Lags Behind 2013