Weather forecasts into August call for below average precipitation in soybean growing areas, and have driven up soybean prices in the last few days. August rainfall is essential for strong soybean yields, and despite the rain that fell over much of the Midwest in June, farmers in some areas are expressing concerns of fields being dry. USDA officials and Chinese regulators came to a head over the continued delay of MIR-162 clearance in China. Chinese demands were explained as "unreasonable" and "undoable" by the USDA after the Chinese demanded none of the trait being found in any corn or DDG shipments sampled. Currently the agreement allows for very small amounts of Syngenta MIR-162 trait to be present in shipments.
The USDA corn conditions were estimated 75% in "Good" or "Excellent" condition, down 1% from last week, but a 12% increase from last year. 19% was considered "Fair," unchanged from last week, while only 6% was considered "Poor" or "Very Poor." Of the Corn Belt states, Illinois had the most corn rated "Excellent" at 30%, followed by Iowa and Indiana with 26% and 23% respectively. Corn silking was reported at 78%, a 22% increase from last week, and 3% ahead of the five-year average. Corn in the dough stage was estimated for the first time this week. The USDA estimated 17% of corn had reached the doughing stage, 1% ahead of the five-year average and 9% ahead of this time last year.
Soybean conditions were reported with 71% of the crop in "Good" or "Excellent" condition, down 2% from last week, but an 8% increase from last year. 23% was reported in "Fair" condition, a 1% increase from the previous week, while only 6% was reported as "Poor" or "Very Poor." Of the five largest soybean producing states, Illinois had the most crop rated "Excellent" with 22%, followed by Iowa with 20%. Soybeans blooming were reported at 76% this week, up 16% from last week, and 4% ahead of the five-year average. 84% of Indiana's soybean crop has bloomed, 15% ahead of its five-year average, the largest margin of the five top soybean producing states. Soybeans setting pods were reported at 38%, a 19% increase from last week and 7% ahead of the five-year average.
The winter wheat crop was reported 83% harvested, up 8% from last week, and 3% ahead of the five-year average. The majority of the southern winter wheat growing areas are completed or near completion with harvest, while harvests in Idaho, Montana and South Dakota still have many acres to be completed.
September futures for corn closed the week at $3.67 per bushel, a 0.8% increase from last week. August soybeans ended the week at $12.36, a 5.2% increase from last week. September wheat ended the week at $5.34, a 0.8% increase from last week. Year-to-year corn prices are down 24.9%, soybeans are down 9.6%, and wheat is down 18%.
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