According to USDA's June 8 crop assessment, 60 percent of the U.S. corn crop was rated "excellent" or "good." That compares to 77 percent in 2007. Given the harsh weekend weather across the Midwest, it begs the question of whether that status has deteriorated. Regardless, concern is growing that a "large" crop —  or even one close to trend yields —  for this year is unlikely.

Taking a deeper look at the ratings, USDA pegged 10 percent of the crop as "excellent," versus 20 percent last year. It rated 50 percent of the crop as "good," which is a bit closer to last year at 57 percent.

Meanwhile, 31 percent of the crop was identified as "fair," compared with 18 percent in 2007; 7 percent was "poor," compared with 4 percent last year; and 2 percent was "very poor," up from 1 percent last year.

Emergence has been running late as USDA cited 89 percent of the corn crop has poked through the ground. That's down from 98 percent last year and compares to a 95 percent five-year average.

According to Darrel Good, University of Illinois agricultural economist, USDA's latest report reinforces the growing belief that a "big corn crop" is not likely to develop this year. The only hope of hitting trend yields is that the Midwest gets a chance to dry out, but that it doesn't extend into July and August. Also, a full  crop season will be needed, he adds.

Corn futures responded to the Midwest's heavy rains-- and in some cases, flooding-- by rallying to record highs. Reports out of southern Illinois indicate that some farmers have already replanted their crop three times, and within days, it will soon be too late to plant corn at all. In Indiana, 29 counties have been declared disaster areas, and many areas within Iowa are flooding. Certainly, there is more upside potential in corn prices.

As for the soybean crop, there is still time to plant if needed. USDA's report indicated that 7 percent was "excellent," compared with 12 percent in 2007; 50 percent was "good," versus 58 percent; 35 percent was "fair," compared with 24 percent; 6 percent was "poor," versus 5 percent; and 2 percent was very poor, compared with 1 percent last year.

Only 56 percent of the soybean crop had emerged as of June 8. That compares with 80 percent last year and a five-year average of 74 percent.
 

Source: USDA, Meatingplace.com