Bloomberg News

U.S. Corn Conditions Drop on Dry Weather; Soy Planting Gains

May 29, 2012

The condition of the U.S. corn crop deteriorated last week after warm, dry weather increased stress on plants in parts of the Midwest and South. Spring-wheat ratings rose, and soybean planting moved closer to completion.

About 72 percent of the corn crop was in good or excellent condition as of May 27, down from 77 percent a week earlier, while up from 63 percent from a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. An estimated 92 percent of the seeds emerged from the ground, up from 76 percent a week earlier and the average in the previous five years of 69 percent.

“Everyone is worried about the hot, dry weather pattern in May continuing into June,” Emerson Nafziger, an agronomist at the University of Illinois in Urbana, said in a telephone interview. “I doubt we have compromised our yield potential at this time with timely rain next month.”

The report was issued after the close of trading on the Chicago Board of Trade. Corn futures for July delivery fell 2.8 percent to settle at $5.625 a bushel. The most-active contract has fallen 11 percent this month on speculation that farmers will harvest a record crop this year.

Production will jump 20 percent to 14.79 billion bushels as farmers plant the most acres since 1937 and yields expand to a record 166 bushels per acre, the USDA said on May 10.

Based on today’s report, yields may average 165.1 bushels this year, down from 169 bushels a week earlier, according to David Salmon, the owner of Weather Derivatives in Belton, Missouri.

Soybeans, Wheat

About 89 percent of the soybean crop was planted, compared with 76 percent a week earlier and the five-year average of 61 percent, the USDA said. Plant emergence rose to 61 percent from 35 percent a week earlier and 22 percent a year earlier.

The spring-wheat crop rated good or excellent as of May 27 rose to 79 percent from 74 percent a week earlier.

The winter-wheat crop was rated 54 percent good or excellent as of May 27, compared with 58 percent a week earlier after dry, hot weather stunted plant growth from Texas to Ohio, the USDA said. A year earlier, 33 percent got the top ranking.

An estimated 57 percent of the cotton crop was in good or excellent condition, the government said in its first assessment of this year’s crop.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Wilson in Chicago at jwilson29@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net.


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