At this time of year, when you're likely to start hearing combines roll (OK, so it is early) those crop condition reports for corn get a lot less useful. Especially when the condition report stops showing much change, and this week's is one that held steady.
The corn crop is reported at 22% good to excellent across the Corn Belt, but only 3% of the corn is in the top category. As it stands, the 2012 crop is now 52% poor to very poor nationwide versus only 21% at that level in the last growing season. Essentially, the 2012 crop year for corn is nearly done. Interestingly 10% of the corn crop is harvested, which is well ahead of the 3% average for this time of year.
About 41% of the corn crop rates Mature, with the crop farthest along in Missouri, Texas and North Carolina. Illinois is about 63% mature, for what corn is there and Indiana has 32% of its corn crop rated mature. Iowa is 50% mature. As with this report all season, those numbers are well above average for this time of year.
Soybeans: Soybeans are holding steady at about 30% good to excellent. About 37% of the crop is poor to very poor, a slight drop from the 38% at that level last week. About 19% of the crop shows dropping leaves. Essentially, for many areas, beans have started to dry down, so subsequent rains may do little to boost the crop.
Cotton: This fiber crop is running a head of average thanks to a lot of heat units in a record-hot July. About 36% of the crop has bolls opening, which is 6 percentage points, or about 20%, ahead of the five-year average. About 42% of the cotton crop is rated good to excellent, with 28% in the poor to very poor category.
Wheat: About 95% of the spring wheat has been harvested, which is 23 percentage points ahead of average.
Pasture and Rangeland: This important crop deteriorated further in this report with 17% good to excellent compared with 18% last week. About 59% of this ground is rated fair to poor with a minor drop in "very poor" acres in this latest report.
Essentially the Drought of 2012, accompanied by hot weather, has pushed the corn and soybean to the limit with early harvests and poor condition. The next USDA crop report is slated for next week on Sept. 12 when more information about expected yield will be released.