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The Corn Belt struggles with more uncertainty – in the estimates and in the fields

By John Roach, AccuWeather staff writer
August 12, 2019, 6:17:32 PM EDT

corn field farm crop

The condition of corn considered “good” or “excellent” remained 60% or lower for the ninth straight week. (John Roach/AccuWeather)


The Crop Progress report seems like a tag-along little brother when it is issued later on the same day as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) releases its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report.

Big brother gets all the attention – oh, and by the way, here’s another one.

That’s particularly true this week considering the surprising numbers from the WASDE report. Estimates for corn production rose to 13.901 billion bushels – with estimated corn area planted at 90 million acres. Soybean production estimates dropped significantly, thanks to a reduction from an estimated 80 million acres planted to 76.7 million.

“It does not make sense that corn acreage is still so high,” Ohio farmer Fred Traver emailed AccuWeather. “It would make sense that both beans and corn acres would be down significantly with the wet spring we had. Everything is just behind.”

The condition of corn and soybeans considered “good” or “excellent” remained 60% or lower for the ninth straight week. Good-or-excellent rated corn was at 57% -- matching the previous week – and soybeans were at 54%, also the same as the week before, based on 18 key corn- or soybean-producing states.

Last year at this time, good-or-excellent rated corn was at 70% and soybeans were at 66%.

Indiana and Ohio had the lowest good-to-excellent ratings for both crops, with Indiana at 33% for corn and 34% for soybeans, while Ohio was at 34% for corn and 29% for soybeans.

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“The USDA thinks the corn crop looks pretty good, I guess, but the good-to-excellent rating hasn’t been high,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls. “One of those estimates is off. Some people say that the USDA is very conservative on the estimates for ratings and even a little negative and that the corn really could be rated better.”

AccuWeather is forecasting a round of showers and thunderstorms will bring beneficial moisture to the Midwest Monday into Tuesday, helping to water the corn and soybean fields, both of which need consistent rains this time of year. Temperatures over the Midwest will average close to normal this week, while the following week will be warmer with scattered rains moving in later in the week.

“With some rain, we still have the possibility of making decent yield on beans,” Traver emailed AccuWeather, “but it is unlikely that we will have an early harvest, making it tough to get winter wheat planted.”


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