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Soybean development lagging -- USDA

There are still a few farmers wrapping up soybean planting, but it's near its end, with only 4% left to go, according to Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report. And 91% of that crop has emerged, a sharp rise from a week ago.

Corn conditions were essentially unchanged in the last seven-day period, with 67% of the crop in good-to-excellent condition, 27% in fair condition, and 8% in very poor or poor shape.

"This is 19 points better than last year," says Market Analyst Al Kluis of Kluis Commodities. "Last year at this time, drought was already taking a toll on ratings and yield."

Now, as the crop begins to enter a critical developmental juncture, it's easy to see just how much of an influence this spring's sluggish planting pace has had on the crop thus far; last year at this time, 22% of the crop had silked. As of Sunday, only 3% of this year's crop had reached that milestone.

The corn crop's progress isn't of much worry on the macro scale. But the discrepancy between this year's pace and the norm for soybeans is more of an issue, especially in the northern reaches of the Corn Belt.

"The soybean crop rating today showed 67% of the nation's soybean rated good-to-excellent, compared to 65% last week and 45% last year," Kluis says. "Emergence is only at 91%; there are a lot of crops to still emerge in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. Nationwide, about 7 million acres of first-crop soybeans have not yet emerged."

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