Soybean, corn crop conditions deteriorate, U.S.D.A. says

by Laura Lloyd
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WASHINGTON — The condition of the 2013 corn and soybean crops deteriorated in the week ending Aug. 25, compared with the previous week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its Aug. 26 Crop Progress report.

Soybean futures soared more than 60c a bu in the two nearby contracts on Aug. 26 due to concerns about the effects of hot, dry weather on the crop. Corn futures prices advanced as much as 30c a bu, with corn and soybeans also pulling wheat futures higher for the day.

Of the two major row crops, soybean crop conditions lost the most ground in the latest week: four percentage points in the good-to-excellent category in the 18 major states, compared with the previous week. The corn crop deteriorated by two percentage points in the 18 major corn growing states, the U.S.D.A. said.

A total of 58% of the soybean crop was rated good to excellent as of Aug. 25, down from 62% in the previous week. A total of 29% of the crop was rated fair, up from 28% a week earlier, and 13% was rated very poor to poor, up from 10%.

Despite the less-favorable crop conditions compared with the previous week, the soybean crop was in vastly better condition than the same date in 2012, a severe drought year, when 30% was rated good to excellent and 38% was rated very poor to poor.

The current soybean crop remains slightly behind the five-year average developmentally. The U.S.D.A. said 84% of the crop was setting pods as of Aug. 25, down from the 2008-2012 average of 90% for the same date.

The 2013 corn crop in the 18 major states was rated 59% good to excellent as of Aug. 25, the U.S.D.A. said, down from 61% the previous week. The crop was rated 27% fair and 14% very poor to poor, compared with 26% fair and 13% very poor to poor the previous week. Like the soybean crop, the 2013 corn crop was in significantly better shape as of Aug. 25 than the same date in 2012, when 22% was rated good to excellent, 26% was fair and a majority of the crop (52%) was rated very poor to poor.

The corn crop was somewhat behind developmentally because of planting delays caused by exceptional rains and cooler-than-normal temperatures in much of the Corn Belt this spring.

The U.S.D.A. said 70% of the crop had reached the dough stage as of Aug. 25, down from the 79% five-year average. A total of 23% of the corn crop had dented in the latest week, well below the 2008-2012 average of 45%.

The spring wheat harvest progressed rapidly in the latest week but still lagged the five-year average in the six major states. The U.S.D.A. said 42% of the spring wheat crop was harvested as of Aug. 25, up from 18% a week earlier but down from 54% as the five-year average. A total of 67% of the crop was rated good to excellent in the latest week, up from 66% the previous week, and 7% was rated very poor to poor, the same as the previous week.

The oats harvest was progressing rapidly, though modestly lagging the five-year average. The U.S.D.A. said 83% of the crop was harvested as of Aug. 25, down from the 88% five-year average.

The rice harvest was 14% completed in the latest week, down from 17% as the 2008-2012 average. In the six major states, 70% of the crop was rated good to excellent, the same as the previous week, the U.S.D.A. said.

The condition of the peanut crop deteriorated modestly in the current week in the eight major states, the U.S.D.A. said. A total of 58% was rated good to excellent compared with 61% the previous week, while 11% was rated very poor to poor, up from 6% a week earlier.

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