USDA: Crop Conditions Remain Flat

by: T. Marc Schober

According to the USDA weekly progress report, the percentage of 2011 corn crop rated good or excellent remained flat at 60% over this past week. The percentage of crop rated poor or very poor decreased by one percentage point to 15%, while the percentage of crop rated fair increased one percentage point to 25%. Condition ratings still remain behind the 2010 crop, as 69% of the corn crop was in good or excellent condition, 20% was in fair condition, and 11% was in poor or very poor condition.

Of the 18 primary producing states, 3 additional states began reporting that corn in their state has reached the dent stage, bringing the total to 14 states representing 17% of the total corn crop. Denting progress in the 2011 corn crop remains behind its 2010 pace and 5 year historical average of 30% and 21%, respectively. North Carolina and Texas has progressed the furthest at 80% and 70%, respectively, while Colorado, Michigan, North Dakota, and Wisconsin have yet to report progress.

For the week ending August 14th the percentage of crop that has reached the dough stage increased 20 percentage points to 52%. This is still behind progress for the same period one year ago and 5 year historical average of, 71% and 58%, respectively. The USDA also reported estimates for silking at 98% compared to estimates of 99% and 97% for the 2010 crop and 5 year historical average respectively. As of August 14th, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Tennessee are the only four states who have reported 100% silking progress.

For the 18 primary soybean producing states, crop conditions were flat on all levels of the reporting scale. The percentage of the crop rated good or excellent, fair, and poor or very poor, was 61%, 26%, and 13%, respectively. Compared to last year 66% was rated good or excellent, 23% was rated fair, and 11% was rated poor or very poor.

The USDA estimates that 70% of the soybean crop had set pods as of August 14th, an increase of 19 percentage points over last week. Pod setting estimates for the same period in 2010 and a 5 year average are 82% and 78%, respectively. The USDA also reported that 94% of the soybean crop has bloomed, compared to 96% last year, and a 5 year historical average of 94%. For the week ending August 14th, only Mississippi’s soybean crop has finished blooming, compared to Mississippi and North Dakota, for the same period last year.

Progress in the winter wheat harvest increased six percentage points over the past week. The USDA reports harvested winter wheat estimates for the week ending August 14th, at 91% of the total crop, compared to a 5 year average and 2010 estimate of 94% and 90% respectively. Only seven of the 18 primary producing states have a percentage of their respective winter wheat crop left to harvest.

The USDA estimates that 66% of the spring wheat crop is rated good or excellent, this is unchanged from their previous week’s estimate. For the same period last year 82% of the crop was rated good or excellent. The spring wheat harvest increased by 7 percentage points over the past week to 13%, compared to estimates for the same period last year and a 5 year average of, 31% and 39%, respectively. Harvest has now begun in all 6 primary producing states, which represent 99% of the United States spring wheat production.

Commodity prices made nice gains from last Monday’s close on fundamental concerns raised by last week’s Crop Progress and Production Reports. The USDA lowered production numbers for both corn and soybeans, while estimated 2011/12 carryout numbers were less than consensus levels. Over the last week, corn prices increased 4.7% percent or $0.32 to close at $7.07 per bushel, soybeans also increased $0.32 to close at $13.41 per bushel, and wheat jumped $0.55 to $7.11. Corn and soybeans still remain higher year-over-year up, 75% and 22% respectively, while wheat prices are less than 1% lower than they were last year.

Next week we look forward to the same estimates provided in this report.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.