Condition Ratings, Emergence Numbers Indicate Issues Linger for Grains

Farmers across the country have battled Mother Nature for months, fighting to get corn and soybean crops planted. In this week’s USDA Crop Progress report, the agency noted that 96% of the nation’s corn and 85% of the nation’s soybeans are planted. But as emergence numbers and conditions rating imply, getting the crop planted is just the start of the battle.

As of June 23, just 89% of the corn and 71% of the country’s soybeans were emerged. While those numbers are up from 79% and 55% last week, they are vastly behind their historical averages of 99% and 91% respectively. Several states are showing critically slow emergence, including Ohio and Michigan. Typically at this time 99% of Ohio’s corn has emerged. According to USDA just 66% of the state’s corn is out of the ground.

The situation is similar for soybeans, which are just 45% emerged compared to their historical average of 92%. In Michigan the situation is much the same. Corn there should be 98% emerged and it’s 62% emerged. Soybeans should be 93% emerged, but only sit at 48% emerged.

For the crops that have emerged, weather continues to be a challenge. USDA Monday reported corn conditions are 59% good-to-excellent, consistent with the average trade guess, according to Reuters. However, soybeans are just 54% good-to-excellent, falling 5 percentage points behind the average trade guess for this week. According to Karen Braun of Reuters, this is lowest initial rating for soybeans since 1992, when it was 51% good-to-excellent.

Mother Nature is challenging wheat farmers too. According to the report, harvest crews did make some progress on winter wheat last week, moving the needle from 8% harvest to 15%. However, this is well behind the five-year-average of 34% harvested.