I have been trading grains for a long, long time and I am having to really search what is left of my memory to recall seeing the corn crop in such a dramatically fine condition this late in the season. I am sure there were years but truth be told, it is the bad years we remember more so than the outstanding years.
USDA gave us the numbers for the past week and they are outstanding. 93% of the nation's corn crop is in fair to excellent condition. The Good/Excellent condition category actually ticked up 1%. The breakdown is as follows:
CURRENT PREVIOUS WEEK LAST YEAR
Excellent: 22% 21% 14%
Good : 52% 52% 42%
Fair : 19% 20% 28%
As I have said here previously, as we move closer to harvest, the general appearance of the corn plant tends to show some deterioration as the plant's energy is being directed into the ear. That can lead to some slight drop in the overall condition of the plant as far as its general appearance is concerned. Thus far that is not even showing up.
90% of the crop is in the Dough stage compared to 82% a year ago and the 5-year average of 89%.
The only concern might be the Dent stage is showing 35% compared to 39% a year ago and the 5-year average of 59%. That is certainly behind. My view on this is that the perfect growing weather ( warmth and continued moisture) is slowing down the maturation process of the ear. In dry years, maturity tends to move ahead for the ear but at the expense of filling. You get an ear that matures quicker but one whose kernels are smaller and weigh less. What this lagging dent tells me is that we are going to have some pretty hefty weights and large kernels. That should increase the overall size of the harvest when it finally does commence. Any of you agronomists out there who read the site might want to chime in on that if I have missed anything.
Hopefully, we will not get any hard, early killing frost as we wait for the crop to finish up.
On the soybean front, bulls were talking up excessive rains in some areas today as a reason to buy beans. SDS chatter was also making the rounds ( waterlogged fields can be conducive to SDS). However, the overall condition of the soybean crop actually improved last week. An astonishing 94% of the crop is rated Fair to Excellent.
Here are how things stand.
CURRENT WEEK PREVIOUS WEEK LAST YEAR
Excellent: 18% 18% 11%
Good: 54% 52% 43%
Fair: 22% 23% 31%
Those rains last week, especially in the drier areas, made a marked improvement in the overall crop condition rating.
95% of the crop is in the pod setting stage versus 91% last year at this time and the 5-year average of 95%. The Southern states are showing leaf dropping ahead of last year at this time and the 5-year average, with the exception of Mississippi, which is well ahead of last year but lagging the 5 year average somewhat.
It is hard to see anything bullish in these reports. At this stage of the growing season, warmth is needed to finish things up. Farmers are now watching the weather and hoping that Mother Nature does not surprise with any early hard freeze as this year's crop growing season winds down. It seems to me that the frost angle is about all that the bulls have left at this stage.
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