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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.

 

Corn

Soybeans

 

Good/excellent

Poor/very poor

Good/excellent

Poor/very poor

Iowa

62

8

63

5

Kansas

50

13

43

13

Nebraska

77

4

75

3

South Dakota

56

6

55

5

 

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%.

Record Corn Unplanted for This Time of Season

USDA’s Crop Progress report for the week ended May 19 reported 51% of intended acres remain unplanted since USDA began this report, surpassing the prior highest number of 47%. The five-year average for this week is 80%.

Soybeans also are well behind average, at 19% complete vs. 47% the past five years.
In our local states, Iowa is in the best shape and South Dakota is in the worst.

CORN PLANTED

SOYBEANS PLANTED

May 19

5-year average

May 19

5-year average

Iowa

70

89

27

55

Kansas

61

80

17

29

Nebraska

70

86

40

54

South Dakota

19

76

4

39

18 States

49

80

19

49

Only 19% of the corn crop has emerged, compared with a 49% average, while soybeans are 5% emerged, versus 17% on average.

Nebraska had the most days suitable for fieldwork in the week, at 5.0. There were only 2.7 days suitable in Iowa, 3.8 in Kansas, and 3.3 in South Dakota. The current week has started with saturated fields, widespread rains and cool temperatures.

With corn’s final planting date for crop insurance looming on May 31, the Climate Prediction Center puts the probability of rain from May 26-30 at well above normal through the Corn Belt.

The following time period (May 28-June 6) also favors rain.

Corn futures closed Monday at their highest price in nearly a year and wheat prices reached their highest level in three months on continued wet weather. The soybean market is less concerned about the U.S. crop given South America’s large harvest, reduced demand from China, where the African Swine Fever has cut the swine herd, and the impact of tariffs on U.S. exports.

Marketing advisory services point out that managed money traders have been holding large amounts of short positions, meaning they expected prices to fall. They held more than 483,000 contracts for the week of May 14 (see chart from ycharts.com). If they remain convinced this year’s crop will fall short of  expectations because acres aren’t planted, they will buy back their short positions, contributing further to futures price strength.

This could be a year when Revenue Protection insurance shines with its opportunity for coverage to increase if fall prices rise, allowing producers to forward price their crop with the knowledge that the insurance will help cover bushels contracted but not grown. For more, visit frontierfarmcredit.com.

Winter wheat
Only 61% of the Kansas crop has headed, well behind the five-year average of 83%. In Frontier’s service area in the eastern third of the state (NE, EC and SE in the table below), the central and southern sections are ahead of the state average, while the northern section is far behind.

Concerns about the quality of the state’s wheat crop are rising in the face of continued wet weather, although 60% is still rated good/excellent and 10%, poor/very poor. This is slightly below USDA’s rating of the overall crop in its reporting states – 66% on the top end and 8% on the bottom end.
The state’s sunflower acreage reached 1% in the week ended May 19, close to the 3% average but lagging last year’s 6%.

Ripe corn with snow

Poor Weather Stalls Harvest

Even though crops are largely mature, harvest has fallen behind average due to farmers getting just what they didn’t need right now — moisture. In the week ended October 12, Iowa and South Dakota had less than a day of suitable fieldwork, Kansas had one full day and Nebraska 1.3 days.

In the 18 reporting states, 39 percent of corn has been harvested, ahead of the 35 percent average. Soybeans, however, are 15 points behind the usual 53 percent for this week. The states in our area are slightly behind on corn and significantly behind on soybeans:

CORN

SOYBEANS

Oct. 14, 2018

5-year average

Oct. 4, 2018

5-year average

Iowa

17

24

19

51

Kansas

63

64

16

33

Nebraska

25

25

39

54

South Dakota

17

21

29

65

18 States

39

35

38

53

 

USDA’s condition ratings are unchanged for corn, at 12 percent in the bottom two categories and 68 percent in the top two. Soybean ratings slipped one point on the top and gained one point on the bottom.

Sorghum is six points behind average, at 42 percent harvested. Nebraska stands at 32 percent, five ahead of average. But Kansas and South Dakota – at 19 and 21 percent respectively – are both behind nine points.

Winter wheat, at 65 percent complete in the 18 reporting states, also has slipped two points behind average. Kansas and Nebraska are each three points behind, at 62 percent and 89 percent respectively; South Dakota is eight points behind at 82 percent complete.

Better weather in the week ahead will help, at least on fields that aren’t too wet for machinery.

 

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.

Rain makes Grain

Crop progress continues to run ahead of average, although relatively low percentages have reached reproductive stage in the states we serve:

Corn silking
(2018 vs avg)
Soybeans blooming
(2018 vs avg)
Sorghum headed
(2018 vs avg)
Spring wheat headed
(2018 vs avg)
Reported states

5%

3%

12%

5%

20%

21%

34%

27%

Iowa

4

2

NA

NA

NA

NA

Kansas

13

8

7

1

4

2

NA

NA

Nebraska

2

14

6

2

1

NA

NA

South Dakota

33

18

2

3

1

67

52

 

Corn condition exceeds the past four years and soybean condition matches 2014 and 2016, both of which exceed 2015 and 2017. Note that two of the past years saw minor changes in corn and bean condition through the season and in two years it worsened considerably.

crop progress - corn 2018

crop progress - soybeans 2018

However, yields did not necessarily follow suit. Even though the condition started out lower and then worsened, the 2017 yield exceed the 2014 yields for both corn and beans.

Corn

Soybeans

Stable condition 2014 2016 2014 2016
Bu./acre 171 174.6 47.5 52
Worsening 2015 2017 2015 2017
Bu./acre 168.4 176.6 48 49.1

 

Grain Sorghum

In the 11 reporting states, 95 percent of the grain sorghum has been planted and 20 percent is heading, compared with 91 percent and 21 percent respectively. Condition is rated good/excellent for 56 percent of the crop and 12 percent poor/very poor. Conditions in the states we serve:

     Kansas: 63 percent good/excellent; 6 percent poor/very poor
     Nebraska: 83 percent; 1 percent
     South Dakota: 90 percent; 1 percent

Sunflowers

Sunflower planting is three percentage points ahead of average, at 91 percent in the four reported states. Kansas is 82 percent complete (average 77) and South Dakota is 87 percent complete (84 average).

Spring wheat

South Dakota’s spring wheat condition is worse than the six-state average — 57 percent is rated good/excellent compared with 77 percent for the six states; 10 percent is rated poor/very poor, double the six-state average.

Winter wheat

Winter wheat harvest has reached 41 percent in the 18 states, well ahead of the 33 percent average for this time of year. Due to dry weather, Kansas is 20 points ahead of average, at 52 percent. Harvest is right on average in Nebraska and South Dakota – 1 percent and zero.

Condition is 12 points behind last year at this time, with 37 percent good/excellent this year compared with 49 percent last year. This year’s bottom two ratings total 34 percent, compared with only 16 percent last year. Only 16 percent of the Kansas crop is in the top two ratings, with 46 percent in the bottom two.

Weather conditions

rainfall June 18-24 2018Recent rains have added to soil moisture. As the map from AgWeb shows, ample rains have fallen in the past week in much of our service area.

USDA reports that in the 48 contiguous states, 79 percent of corn has adequate to surplus topsoil moisture, while 26 percent are short or very short. This compares with 69 percent and 31 percent last year at this time. In Iowa, 25 percent of acres have too much water and in Nebraska, 8 percent. Kansas has the most acres – 31 percent — experiencing a water shortage  despite good rains in the last week in some areas.

The Climate Prediction Center’s six- to 10-day outlook shows a high probability of above-average temperatures but also modestly higher odds of rain than normal in most of our states.