Conditions continue to look good in this week’s Crop Progress report from USDA, and while corn is developing at a slower-than usual rate, the crop seems to be gaining some ground.
The report, based on conditions as of Aug. 30, rates 69 percent of the U.S. crop in good or excellent condition, the same as last week. One year ago, 61 percent of the crop rated in those top-two categories. The current report lists 9 percent as poor to very poor, compared with 10 percent last week and 13 percent one year ago.
The report rates 68 percent of the soybean crop as good to excellent, compared with 69 percent one week ago and 57 percent one year ago.
While conditions are good, development appears to be about a week behind last year, but that is a slight improvement from recent weeks as warm weather seems to be speeding crop development. Eighty-six percent of the corn crop has reached dough stage, compared with 90 percent one year ago and 94 percent for the five-year average. That 86 percent figure lines up with five-year average of 88 percent for Aug. 30 in last week’s report, suggesting the crop is about a week behind the average.
The report shows a bigger gap for the portion of corn reaching the dent stage this week, with 50 percent dented compared with 59 percent a year ago and 75 percent for the five-year average. Soybean development is tracking much closer to last year and the five-year average, as the crop is planted later and less affected by spring weather conditions that set the corn crop behind this season.
There has been some concern that early frost could hurt corn production in northern areas, but recent warm weather and favorable long-range weather forecasts make that risk appear fairly remote.
Pasture and range conditions look good across most of the country. Nationally, 49 percent of pasture and range rates good to excellent, with 23 percent rated poor or very poor. Those numbers declined slightly from last week but compare favorably with last year at this time, when 40 percent rated good or excellent and 28 percent poor or very poor. The states with the worst conditions are California, where an astounding 90 percent of pasture and range rates poor or very poor, and Arizona, where 76 percent fall into those categories. Other states with large areas rated poor or very poor include New Mexico, Texas and Oregon.
The full report is available from USDA.