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June 27, 2018

2018 U.S. Crops Continue to be Rated Very Good

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

U.S. Corn - The condition of the corn crop declined 1% last week to 77% of the crop rated good to excellent. This crop continues to be rated as one of the best corn crops in many years. It is already the last week of June and these good ratings should continue for at least several more weeks. The weather would really have to turn adverse very quickly for this crop to show any signs of significant problems prior to pollination.

The weather last week was generally favorable for the corn crop with the exception of probably too much rain in a few areas such as southwestern Minnesota, northwestern Iowa, southeastern South Dakota, northern Illinois, and southern Wisconsin. Ponding is being reported in some of these areas which will negatively impact the corn in those areas. Outside of the ponded areas, the rains of last week were generally beneficial especially as the crop approaches pollination.

Five percent of the corn is pollinating compared to 4% last year and 3% for the 5-year average. The U.S. corn crop should hit 50% pollinated approximately July 10-12th. Given the current soil moisture situation, there should be ample soil moisture for at least the first part of pollination. It remains to be seen if the good soil moisture continues to be the case for the second half of pollination. Temperatures are going to warm up again later this week and the high temperatures could continue into the first half of July.

As we have said in the past, warm temperatures alone are not much of a problem for pollination as long as there is ample soil moisture and the soil moisture is now better than the long term average. The only significant pollination problems should be confined to the dryer areas of the southwestern Corn Belt. If the forecasted rains do not materialize, then there could be some problems for the second half of pollination.

The recent wet and cloudy weather could result in increased levels of foliar diseases for the corn. Hot and humid weather are ideal conditions for the development of various foliar diseases and I would not be surprised if there will be an increased use of fungicides this year.

U.S. Soybeans - The rating for the soybean crop held steady last week at 73% rated good to excellent, which is a record high rating for soybeans at the end of June. We all know that the critical time for the soybean crop is the last half of July and the month of August. Having said that, this crop is going into the month of July in generally very good condition. The soybeans are 12% blooming compared to 8% last year and 5% for the 5-year average.

Soybeans do not like saturated conditions because it can result in increased levels of root diseases. There will also probably be a few lost acres due to the ponding, but there are always some areas where there is too much water.

The saturated conditions are resulting in increased reports of phytophitora and fusarium root diseases for soybeans. It is hard to distinguish which disease is present in the field because the symptoms are very similar for both diseases. These diseases infect soybeans when the soil is saturated for an extended period of time. The symptoms are slow growing and stunted plants that are pale green in color. It appears as a patch of pale green and sickly looking soybeans out in the middle of the field. The infected soybeans will most likely never reach a normal height or normal yields. In a worst case scenario, the plants might eventually die.

Outside of the ponded and saturated areas, the soybean crop continues to be doing very well. The temperatures are going to heat up later this week and I think the soybeans would benefit from a period of warmer and dryer weather.