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Crop conditions take sharp step lower -- USDA

Jeff Caldwell 09/03/2013 @ 3:21pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Farmers have been saying the last few days that the recent heat and dryness has inflicted more harm on the corn and soybean crops than the previous few months. And, Tuesday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report shows they may be on to something.

Tuesday's report -- delayed a day on account of the Labor Day holiday -- shows soybean conditions dropped 4% (54% of the crop is now in good to excellent shape nationwide), and corn conditions fell 3%. Now, 56% of that crop is in the upper two quality categories.

New to this week's report is a corn maturity chart that indicates, while the previous five-year average was 17%, only 4% of the U.S. corn crop has matured. Key Corn Belt and Plains states show less than a handful of percentage points for overall corn maturity.


Chart from USDA-NASS Crop Progress report, Tuesday, September 3.

Many say based on crop conditions right now, the crop numbers are only going to slide further on a nationwide basis. That doesn't mean, however, there aren't pockets where the crops are in a little better shape, farmers say.

"I would say that Indiana will still be pretty good; a good friend from Vincennes called this morning, and they started shelling corn down there. I asked how it was doing: 209 dry corn on dry land," says Agriculture.com Marketing Talk adviser ECIN. "Now that's great for down there. They have a lot of sandy-type soil."

Others aren't quite as optimstic: "It's been very dry here in northwest Ohio for the last three weeks. Only spotty showers," adds Marketing Talk adviser roarintiger1. "The crops here aren't gonna finish well either."

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