July 29, 2015
Corn Condition Improves Slightly, Soybean Condition Unchanged
Corn - The condition of the U.S. corn crop improved 1% last week to 70% rated good to excellent. Ten states indicated that the corn condition had improved last week and 6 states indicated that the corn condition had declined last week. Most of the improvements were found in the northern and western Corn Belt while most of the declines were found in the eastern and southern Corn Belt. The top five rated corn states are: Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. The five states with the lowest rated corn are: Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois.
The condition of the corn crop has stabilized for the time being at a lower level than last year, but a little better than the long term average. This stabilization could be short lived if the soil moisture continues to dry out.
Soybeans - The condition of the U.S. soybean crop held steady last week at 62% rated good to excellent. Six states indicated that the soybean condition had improved last week and 11 states indicated that the soybean condition had declined last week. Most of the improvements were found in the eastern and northern Corn Belt while most of the declines were found in the southern and western Corn Belt. The top five rated soybean states are: Wisconsin, Mississippi, Minnesota, Tennessee, and North Dakota. The five states with the lowest rated soybeans are: Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Kansas.
The condition of the soybeans also stabilized due to dryer conditions in the eastern Corn Belt which allowed the soybeans to green up and grow a little. The soybean condition is now just slightly better than the long term average, but as we all know, the eventual soybean production will depend on the weather during August.
Soil moisture - The nation's topsoil dried out again last week for the fourth straight week in a row. Four states indicated that the soils got wetter last week while 12 states indicated that the soils got dryer last week. Most of the soils that got wetter were found in the mid-South (Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and North Carolina) while most of the soils that got dryer were found generally all across the Corn Belt. The five states with the wettest soils are: Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Illinois. The five states with the driest soils are: Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Carolina.
A drying out of the topsoil during July is normal, but even with the current drying trend, the nation's soils are still wetter than last year and certainly wetter than the long term average (see graph at end of report). I have three concerns for the soil moisture - developing pockets of dryness in the northwestern Corn Belt, continued hot and dry conditions in the Delta and the Southeastern U.S., and the possibility that the eastern Corn Belt could dry out too quickly for the shallow rooted crops in the region.