young soybean plant

Slightly Lower Condition Ratings Take Center Stage

With corn planting nearing completion at 96% for the week ending June 23, attention turns to condition.

Emergence is behind average by 10 percentage points at 89% in the 18 reporting states. In Iowa, emergence lags by 4 points; Nebraska, 5; Kansas, 6; and South Dakota, 20 points with only 79% of the crop emerging.

In the 18 states, the corn crop is rated 56% good/excellent and 12% poor/very poor this week, compared with 77% in the top categories and 5% in the bottom two last year. This also is down several points from the week earlier, and the market took note, bumping corn futures more than 4¢ higher through the December contract.






Poor/very poor


Poor/very poor
















South Dakota






Soybean planting – with its generally later final dates and late-planting period – still lags with just 85% planted compared with a five-year average of 97%. However, in the states we report, most are only 3 to 6 percentage points behind average. South Dakota at 84 percent planted is the exception, running 15% behind its usual pace.

Emergence in the 18 states is reported at 71%, 20 points behind average. In Iowa, 81% of the soybean crop is up (96% average); Kansas, 68% (78%); Nebraska, 85% (96%) and South Dakota, 92% (95%).

As the table above shows, soybean condition is rated fairly close to that of corn. It also has dropped a few percentage points from the prior week.

Other spring crops

Grain sorghum planting is 84% complete, according to USDA. The five-year average for this point in the planting period is 91% complete. Kansas reports the slowest pace at only 77% planted compared with 88% on average; Nebraska, at 91%, is seven points behind and South Dakota, at 92%, is one point ahead of average. Not much sorghum has headed in states outside of Texas. Condition in the states we report ranges from 67% good/excellent in Kansas to 80% in Nebraska. Only 1% to 3% is rated poor.

Sunflower planting is only a few points behind average. The four reported states reached 85% complete compared to their five-year average of 89%. Kansas is three points behind at 73; South Dakota is two points behind at 82%.

Winter wheat

Ninety-four percent of winter wheat in the 18 leading states has headed. The lowest percentage is in South Dakota, where only 80% has headed compared with an average there of 94%. Harvested acreage is less than half the average for the week ended June 23 – 15% vs. an average of 34%. What has been harvested is in the southern states. In the states we report, Kansas stands at just 5% (average 36%).

Pasture and range

Pasture and range conditions dropped 3% on the top end and increased 2% on the bottom end. But at 68% good/excellent and just 8% poor/very poor, condition is dramatically better than last year’s 49% and 20%.

Quality Issues Raise Crop Insurance Questions

Producers in some areas have experienced a perfect storm in weather in 2018. After a delayed growing season, crops caught up and matured ahead of normal, only to have rain delay harvest. That opened the door to quality problems ranging from soybean pod shattering to mycotoxin contamination.

In fact, USDA’s Crop Progress report this week shows harvest in the 18 states behind average for all crops, and Kansas is among those with crops still in the field:

Corn remaining (%)


5-year average remaining
Soybeans remaining (%) Soybeans
5-year average remaining
Sorghum remaining (%) Sorghum 5-year average remaining Sunflower remaining (%) Sunflower 5-year average remaining
Kansas 11 5 26 10 38 20 37 8
Reporting states  

















More than a quarter of the beans in Kansas are still in the field, according to USDA’s count. “We were hearing reports of quality problems,” said Ruth Compton, crop insurance officer in Hiawatha. “I don’t believe it’s been a huge problem but with a lot of soybeans still in the field, there is a continued concern.”

Different situations

The crop insurance claim process differs depending on the situation. For instance, if a field is flooded and has standing water, you are not allowed to harvest for food use. You have the option to sell to a salvage buyer if you can find one who will take your production or you can destroy the crop and take a zero on your Actual Production History (APH). If you have a quality issue that your elevator discounts less than 8 percent, it doesn’t support a claim.

And, although the price drop from the spring guarantee of $10.16 to the harvest price of $8.61 appears large, in almost all cases, it would not produce a claim on its own, depending on the yield. The table below illustrates the yield needed to trigger a claim given various revenue guarantees. The October average falls between the $8.65 and $8.66 rows in the table.

revenue guarantee table

revenue guarantee table

In all cases, you need to weigh the impact on APH against the amount a claim might be worth. Your Frontier Farm Credit insurance offer can help identify the avenues you can use to ensure the impact on your APH is minimized.

A bigger question this year may be the effect on your Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payment. That is paid strictly on the bushels produced. The first of two possible payments is $1.65 on half your production. So the question is: Is it better to combine the crop to collect the 82 cents, plus a likely additional payment, or save the cost of combining and file a claim?

Your Frontier Farm Credit insurance team can help you make that determination – and guide you through the claims process when quality is at issue.

For those who want to review before proceeding, click to view the USDA/Risk Management Agency fact sheet on Soybean Kernel Damage Quality Adjustment Procedure.

Winter wheat

Winter wheat planting also is a bit behind average, with 90 percent completed in Kansas, 8 points behind usual. 77 percent has emerged, well behind the 89 percent average. As of Nov. 11, USDA rates 44 percent of the crop good/excellent, compared with 54 percent in the 18 reporting states. Fourteen percent is poor/very poor in Kansas while 12 percent falls in those categories in the 18 states, headed up by Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas.

Image: Purple seed staining of soybean in south central Nebraska. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Rees, UNL CropWatch

Corn now a week ahead; soybeans slightly less advanced

Corn harvest jumped 10 points to 26 percent in the final week of September. This is well ahead of the 17 percent average for the 18 reporting states. Eighty six percent of the crop is mature, 15 points ahead of average, so combines will continue roll, weather permitting.

Harvest in our territory also continues to run ahead of average, despite a lack of suitable field days in many areas.

State Percent Harvested 9/23 9/30 Average
Iowa 5 11 6
Kansas 30 47 39
Nebraska 43 65 42
South Dakota 5 11 7


Soybean harvest also advanced, reaching 23 percent complete in the 18 states. That is up 9 percentage points from the prior week and three ahead of average.

With 83 percent of beans dropping leaves (average, 75 percent), condition is rated unchanged at 68 percent good/excellent and 10 percent poor/very poor. Kansas and South Dakota have 58 percent in the top categories, Iowa 74 percent and Nebraska 85 percent.

Grain sorghum is running slightly behind average, with 34 percent harvested in the 11 reporting states (average is 36 percent); 62 percent mature (63 percent average) and 97 percent (2 points ahead of the 95 percent average). Its condition worsened one point at each end, with 54 percent good/average and 17 percent poor/very poor.

Winter wheat planting also jumped in the past week, from 28 percent complete to 43 percent, which is three points ahead of average. Progress in our states varies somewhat, with Nebraska slightly behind average:

State 9/23 Average
Kansas 41 32
Nebraska 72 74
South Dakota 67 65


Pasture and range conditions continue to improve, with 42 percent now rated good/excellent and 23 percent poor/very poor. Kansas is rated 53 percent good/excellent and 19 percent in the bottom categories.

Soil moisture in South Dakota continues to be short in some parts of the state:

  Very short Short Adequate Surplus
Topsoil moisture 8 20 65 7
Subsoil moisture 14 29 53 4


These two maps tell the story.

palmer drought index - Sept 2018


drought map 9-25-2018

Ripening corn

Combines – and planters – rolling

A string of clear weather days jump-started harvest. In the 18 reporting states, 16 percent of corn and 14 percent of soybeans are combined, compared to 11 percent and 8 percent on average.

All of the states in our service area are ahead of average in development and harvest:

Corn dented Corn mature Corn harvested
Sept 24 Average Sept 24 Average Sept 24 Average
Iowa 97 94 74 51 5 3
Kansas 98 96 80 69 30 27
Nebraska 98 96 69 53 9 6
South Dakota 98 92 67 43 5 3
18 States 97 93 72 53 16 11


Corn condition continues favorable, with the 18-state rating improving one point in the top categories to 69 percent and the bottom two unchanged at 12 percent. The rain was too late to boost the Kansas crop into better-than-half good/excellent; it stands are 47 percent, while 26 percent falls in the bottom categories. South Dakota is slightly below average, at 63 percent good/excellent and 18 percent poor/very poor. Both Iowa and Nebraska are above average.

Soybean progress and harvest also are ahead of average, by a wide margin in some states.

Dropping leaves Harvested Condition
Sept 24 Average Sept 24 Average Good/excellent Poor/very poor
Iowa 72 49 8 3 22 7
Kansas 49 43 2 2 60 10
Nebraska 84 69 13 6 83 6
South Dakota 83 74 12 6 61 15
18 States 71 57 14 8 68 10


Grain sorghum’s progress is closer to average, and more of a mixed bag, with several measures behind average.

Coloring Mature Harvested
Sept 24 Average Sept 24 Average Sept 24 Average
Kansas 93 90 32 33 6 6
Nebraska 95 97 48 41 6 4
South Dakota 85 90 24 35 1 4
18 States 94 90 50 53 30 32


Condition is better than average in our service area. Nebraska is rated 84 percent good/excellent and 2 percent poor/very poor compared to the 11-state average of 55 percent and 2 percent; Kansas is 71 percent and 7 percent; and South Dakota, 67 percent and 5 percent.

Winter wheat planting

Even as corn and soybeans are coming out of the field, 28 percent of the winter wheat crop is planted, two points ahead of average. Kansas farmers have 21 percent in, compared with 16 on average; Nebraska is three points behind average at 53 percent; and South Dakota is six points ahead of average at 53 percent.

Rains have helped Kansas pasture and range condition, which has reached 50 percent good/excellent. That compares with only 29 percent at the start of August. However, 17 percent remains in poor or very poor condition.

Steady as she goes

Crops are marching their way to the finish line with promise of a touchdown. As of September 2, status in the reporting states was:

Corn dough stage: 96 percent, average 91 percent

Corn dented: 75 percent, average 60 percent

Corn mature: 22 percent, average 11 percent

Soybeans dropping leaves: 16 percent, average 9 percent

Sorghum headed: 96 percent, average 95 percent

Sorghum coloring: 69 percent, average 62 percent

Sorghum mature: 30 percent, average 33 percent

Sorghum harvested: 22 percent, average 23 percent

Spring wheat harvested:  87 percent, average 75 percent


Condition is little changed from a week ago and overall continues better than last year.

Corn is rated 87 percent good/excellent and 12 percent poor/very poor, 1 point lower on the high end than a week ago and 6 points better than a year ago.

Soybeans are unchanged from last week, with 66 percent in the top categories and 11 percent in the bottom two. This compared with the same number in the bottom categories and 5 percent more in the top categories than last year.

Sorghum, at 52 percent good/excellent in the 11 states, is 1 point below last week, but 11 points behind last year. Its bottom two categories, at 17 percent, compares with just 8 percent last year. Texas and Missouri represent the highest numbers in the bottom categories.

The table includes a few surrounding states:

Corn Soybeans Sorghum


Poor/very poor


Poor/very poor


Poor/very poor






















South Dakota








Recent rains helped pasture condition improve a couple points at each end in the 48 states. Drought-stressed Kansas now has 27 percent in the bottom two categories and 38 percent in the top two. This compares with 25 percent in the bottom and 34 in the top two months ago (July 2). The first report in May showed 29 percent in the bottom categories and 25 in the top two.

pasture and crop condition for Kansas