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July 24, 2019

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

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

The condition of the U.S. corn crop declined 1% last week and it is now rated 57% good to excellent. Most of the improvements were found in the central and southern Corn Belt while most of the declines were found in the eastern and northern Corn Belt.

I thought the weather last week was generally OK for the corn. The hot and humid conditions encouraged rapid growth for the corn and the high humidity helped to limit the amount of evapotranspiration. The rainfall last week was generally more than what had been forecasted with most of the rainfall occurring in the more northern locations with dryer weather in the southern and western locations. There may have actually been too much rainfall and wind in parts of South Dakota, southern Minnesota, and Iowa which resulted in some green snap and lodged corn. The forecast for this week is for warm and generally dry conditions with lower relative humidity.

Moisture stresses were already being reported earlier last week even before the excessive heat moved in. For those areas that received rain late last week, there probably was not much harm done to the corn crop. For corn that missed the rain last week, it's a different story and potential moisture stresses may increase.

The corn is 35% silking compared to 78% last year and 66% for the 5-year average. Illinois is 48% behind the average silking, Indiana is 44%, South Dakota is 41%, Ohio is 38%, Minnesota is 35%, and Michigan is 33% behind the average. The corn is 5% in dough stage compared to 16% last year and 10% for the 5-year average.

The corn should reach 50% pollinated sometime next week, which would be approximately 10-14 days later than average. The early pollination in the Corn Belt should be mostly OK due to adequate subsoil moisture. I am more concerned about the later planted corn that will not pollinate until sometime in August. The last corn to pollinate will be mostly in the eastern Corn Belt and it is uncertain what the weather will be like when the corn eventually pollinates.

We finally got a little more clarity last week concerning the amount of prevent plant corn acreage. Last week, the USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) indicated that their running account of prevent plant acres in early July was 7-8 million acres of corn and 2-3 million prevent plant acres of soybeans. USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey said that prevent plant acres could exceed 10 million acres while other sources were quoted that it could be as high as 12.5 million acres and for all crops combined.

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) extended the deadline for farmers to claim prevent plant due to the extended planting season and the expected heavy workload of the local Farm Service Agency offices. They also made it easier for farmers to claim prevent plant acres by waiving some of the requirements. If there is determined to have been widespread prevent planting in the state, the county FSA offices can waive some of the requirements for producers to provide documentation as too their intent to plant.

For the first time, prevent plant data from the Farm Service Agency will be part of the data incorporated into the August Crop Report. The data concerning prevent plant acres will not be complete, but it could at least indicate the trend. There may also be some confusion concerning the amount of planted corn acres as compared to the number of harvested corn acres.

NASS will include all the corn that has been planted regardless of the eventual use of the corn. So they will count corn planted for grain, corn planted for silage, and late planted corn that will be used for silage or forage. They also said they will try to avoid any confusion by indicating the number of corn planted acres that will be used only for grain production.

For the time being, I left my corn planted acreage unchanged at 85.3 million acres.