Corn Maturity at 33 Percent
September 22, 2008
OMAHA (DTN) — Thirty-three percent of the nation’s corn crop was considered mature in USDA’s latest Crop Progress report. While this is 14 percentage points more than last week’s figure, it still lags the five-year average of 63 percent.
“The delay is most keenly felt in the heart of the Corn Belt,” said DTN Analyst Elaine Kub. “Iowa, Illinois and Indiana corn fields are between 20 and 40 percent mature, compared to the usual 60 to 80 percent in late September.”
Recent rains and flooding have contributed at least in part to this setback.
“The corn futures market is likely to remain sensitive to weather factors for a longer period of time this year, especially if anecdotes of lodging and stalk rot make their way to Chicago once a large number of combines actually make it out to the fields,” Kub said.
Late maturity is also noted for soybeans, which had only 44 percent of fields dropping leaves by Sunday evening, while the five-year average is 64 percent. The Iowa (43 percent dropping leaves) and Illinois (24 percent) figures were notably far behind their averages of 73 and 64 percent, respectively.
“The scattered rains may actually still be beneficial to some of these fields if they aren’t already too wet, and as the past week’s progress shows (only 21 percent were dropping leaves a week ago), once soybean reach this stage, it’s a relatively quick process for them to be ready for harvest,” Kub said.
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The crop condition ratings at this time of year have basically lost their correlation to final yield numbers as the crops mature and dry out seasonally. “That alone would be reason for the market to feel apathetic about this week’s crop condition ratings, but the numbers were also very close to the ratings from a week ago,” Kub said.
Fifty-nine percent of the corn crop is still considered to be in good or excellent condition, which is not as favorable as the last two weeks’ reports or the ratings from a year ago. The change in USDA’s observations may have started to account for problems like stalk rot and lodging. Meanwhile, 57 percent of the soybean crop is still considered good or excellent nationwide, the same proportion as in the past three weeks’ reports, and nearly the same as a year ago.