Slowest Corn Emergence Pace On Record Could Lead To Misinterpretations Of “Crop Conditions”

Thanks to some more cooperative weather, U.S. farmers made substantial gains in the fields last week. USDA estimates 83% of the corn crop is in the ground as of June 9, up from 67% the previous week. Soybean planting is estimated at 60% complete, compared with just 39% last week. Those are sizable gains but current crop emergence estimates really highlight how far behind things are for this point in the season. This week’s corn emergence pace of 62% is the slowest on record, which was previously set in 2013 at 85% for the same time period. Emergence pace in the top 5 production states for both corn and soybeans is substantially lagging behind the 5-year averages.

USDA yesterday also released its first estimate for corn crop conditions, pegging 59% at good-to-excellent and 9% at poor-to-very poor. This compares to 77% good-to-excellent and 4% poor-to-very poor last year. It’s early days for getting a true picture of the crop’s health, though. As Karen Braun over at Reuters pointed out last week, these ratings only reflect the crop that has emerged. This means a much smaller portion of the crop is currently being assessed (62%) compared to this time last year when emergence was reported at 93%. If you have a minute, Braun’s full article is worth the read: Corn market at risk of misunderstanding USDA’s condition scores on Monday.

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