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USDA: Crop quality catches up with average

Agriculture.com Staff 07/14/2008 @ 2:18pm

Sixty-four percent of the nation's corn crop is in good to excellent condition. Taken alone, it's a fairly benign number. But, looking at a wider context, it has a deeper meaning.

That's because as of Sunday, as much corn in the U.S. was in good to excellent shape as it was a year ago, according to Monday's weekly USDA Crop Progress report. It's the culmination of the weeks-long improvement in corn conditions since earlier this spring, when excess moisture and poor growing conditions had the crop looking like it may never catch up, quality-wise. Monday's 64% good-to-excellent corn conditions are up two percent from a week ago.

Soybeans, on the other hand, were unchanged, quality-wise, according to Monday's report. Fifty-nine percent of the soybean crop is in good to excellent condition as of Sunday.

That's not to say the catch-up is complete. Soybean flowering and corn silking, both having made good progress in the last week, are still well behind normal. As of Sunday, 13% of the nation's corn was silking, compared to the 36% previous five-year average. Twenty-six percent of the nation's soybeans were blooming by Sunday, up from 12% a week ago but still well off the 45% previous five-year average.

Turning to wheat, Monday's USDA report shows winter wheat harvest is moving along quickly, though is also behind schedule. As of Sunday, 62% of the nation's winter wheat is in the bins, compared to 67% a year ago and the 70% previous five-year average. But, it's a 10% jump from a week ago.

Sixty-four percent of the nation's corn crop is in good to excellent condition. Taken alone, it's a fairly benign number. But, looking at a wider context, it has a deeper meaning.

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