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US feed crop survives warm weather

Aerin Curtis

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

27-Jul-2016
Last updated on 27-Jul-2016 at 20:46 GMT2016-07-27T20:46:04Z

©iStock.com/fotokostic
©iStock.com/fotokostic

A hot week across the US has not lowered condition ratings for feed crop growth and production.

Details of feed crop conditions through the week ending July 24 were released late Monday by the US Department of Agriculture in a crop progress report .

“Crop progress and condition estimates are based on survey data collected each week from early April through the end of November,” said the agency. “The non-probability crop progress and condition surveys include input from approximately 4,000 respondents whose occupations provide them opportunities to make visual observations and frequently bring them in contact with farmers in their counties.”

The market was not expected to react strongly to the heat, said Chad Hart, associate professor of economics, crop markets specialist and extension economist at Iowa State University, in an earlier interview, as the warm weather was preceded by precipitation for much of the Midwest.

Corn and soy conditions

The majority of the US corn crop remains in good or excellent condition, said the USDA. About 19% of the crop has been rated at excellent compared with 17% at this point in time last year.

About 57% has been rated as good, up from 53% last year, the agency said. Both results are consistent with what was seen at the end of the previous week, and before the heat wave.

The majority of the soybean crop also has been given a good or excellent rating, said the agency. About 15% of the crop is rated as excellent, an improvement over both this time last year and last week’s condition check.

The portion of the crop earning a good rating, 56% is an improvement over last year’s score at this time, said the USDA. In 2015, about 49% of the crop earned a good rating at this point in the growing season.

The sorghum crop is partially outperforming last year, with 11% compared to 9% rated excellent and 54% instead 59% being considered good, said the agency.

Both barley and spring wheat had a smaller amount of the crop earning an excellent rating compared to the previous year, but a larger amount earning a good rating, the agency said. However, the oat crop has not met the bar set last year, although a majority of the crop is considered in good or excellent condition.

“What we’d like to see [now is] temperatures to come down toward normal, especially for corn,” said Hart. “So the August nights, we want those to get down to the 60s and not stay up in the 70s.”

Producers will look for crops to start slowing their growth to a more typical pace at this point, he said.

“We got through pollination, we got through that well, we’re getting heat afterward but that’s okay,” he said. “The crucial period is grain fill and that won’t be going on until we get into August.”

Corn and soybean progress

Additionally, the corn and soybean crops are continuing to see production progress more rapidly than in recent years, said the USDA.

About 79% of the corn crop has reached the silking stage compared with a multi-year average of 70% and last year’s crop, where 71% had reached the silking stage by this point in the year, said the agency. The corn crops in Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas have all reached or passed 90% of the corn silking stage.

However, the crop is more in line with the reaching the corn dough stage, the fourth stage of the maturity index, said the agency. About 13% of the crop has reached that stage, which is on par with the multi-year average and slightly ahead of last year’s crop.

The overall soybean crop has is about 76% in bloom, which puts it ahead of the 67% in flower at this time last year and the 66% multi-year average, said the USDA.

Additionally, 35% of the crop is setting pods, which puts it ahead of last year’s 29% and the average of 26%, said the agency. States with the most crop setting pods include Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

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