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August 6, 2019

Condition of U.S. Corn Crop declines 1% to 57% Good to Excellent

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

This year is really difficult to estimate the corn production because we don't know the planted acreage, the harvested acreage, and the yield of course. Additionally, I do not expect much clarity from the crop report next Monday because the crops are historically late, the weather has turned dryer, the USDA is not going to conduct field surveys, and we will not know the complete story about the prevent plant acreage.

I am concerned about how satellites will be used by the USDA to estimate the corn and soybean yields in the absence of field surveys. Let me state up front, I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination on how satellites can be used to estimate yields, but here is my concern.

We saw hundreds of soybean fields over the weekend that looked healthy, had a good green color, but they were less than knee-high in early August. They were about half their normal height for this time of the year and the central and eastern Corn Belt has been in a drying trend for about a month. How is that satellite going to project a yield for a soybean plant that is so small this late in the season, has fewer nodes than normal, is starting to flower a month later than normal, and the weather is getting dryer? Obviously, I do not know the answer to that question, which is why I am concerned.

The condition of the 2019 U.S. corn crop declined 1% last week to 57% rated good to excellent. The corn is 78% silked compared to 95% last year and 93% for the 5-year average. The corn is 23% in dough compared to 54% last year and 42% for the 5-year average.

The most delayed corn development is in the eastern Corn Belt where approximately 20% to 55% of the corn has not even pollinated. Michigan is 44% pollinated, Ohio is 53%, Indiana is 60%, and Illinois is 81%. The eastern Corn Belt is also getting very dry with Illinois rated 57% short to very short on soil moisture, Indiana is 50% short, and Michigan is 54% short. Iowa in general is 31% short on soil moisture.