June 11, 2018 / 5:35 PM / 2 months ago

Crop Watch suggests good, stable U.S. crop conditions: Braun

CHICAGO (Reuters) - (The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a market analyst for Reuters.)

The sun lights a corn field waiting to be harvested near Akron, Iowa, U.S., October 28, 2017. Picture taken October 28, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Many corn and soybean fields across the United States, from North Dakota to Ohio, had ample moisture as of Sunday, according to a collection of 16 observations by Crop Watch producers.

However, the fields in Kansas are struggling due to ongoing drought conditions and excessive heat. Kansas produced 5 percent of the country’s corn last year, and Iowa and Illinois led with 18 and 15 percent, respectively. Illinois was the top soybean producer in 2017 with 14 percent.

Crop Watch 2018 follows one corn and one soybean field in eight major U.S. Corn Belt states, reporting on weekly progress every Sunday, similar timing to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's observation schedule. (tmsnrt.rs/2y2lXJ1)

Each week, the corn and soybean fields are assigned a condition rating between 1 and 5, with 1 representing very poor and 5 being excellent.

In the week ended June 10, corn conditions averaged 4, consistent with the prior week. Soybean conditions averaged 3.6, down slightly from 3.75.

Unseasonably hot temperatures are expected to spread across the Corn Belt this coming weekend, starting Thursday for the western-most states and ending Tuesday for the eastern-most. This should not be a problem for most areas, but heat will not be desirable once corn starts pollinating next month.

As of June 3, USDA’s statistics service rated 78 percent of the country’s corn and 75 percent of soybeans in good or excellent condition. Analysts expect those conditions to remain unchanged in Monday afternoon’s update.

EAST CENTRAL NORTH DAKOTA

Corn and soybean conditions remain at 4 and 3, respectively. Crops in the area mostly look good, but a severe hail storm earlier in the week damaged several thousand acres. The subject fields were spared but some growers in the area lost entire fields and had to replant. Heavy spring rainfall in the area had delayed original planting efforts, but the unusually warm weather as of late helped to wrap them up in the last few days.

SOUTHERN MINNESOTA

Corn experienced rapid growth last week and condition holds at 3. Soybean condition also stays at 3. Rainfall accumulation between Thursday evening and Saturday evening was excessive, totaling 3.7 inches (94 mm). Some fields in the area are likely to have developed drowned-out spots. The subject corn field is not at a high risk of drown-out, but the soybean field has spots of standing water.

NORTHEAST NEBRASKA

Corn is growing a bit too quickly with recent excessive heat. Corn condition remains at 4, but it needs a cool-down in temperatures. Total rainfall through June 10 was 0.75 inch (19 mm). Moisture is good and rains will not be needed for another week. Soybeans are growing slowly and condition remains at 4.

CENTRAL KANSAS

The Kansas fields are in the roughest shape out of all the Crop Watch fields because of the recent drought. Corn condition dropped to 2 from a 3 last week, and soy condition fell to 3 from a 4. Weather was very hot and dry and with no relief in sight, conditions may deteriorate further this week.

EAST CENTRAL IOWA

Crop Watch fields received plenty of rain within the last week with totals of 2.25 inches (57 mm) for corn and 3.5 inches (89 mm) for soybeans. Corn got a bit wind-blown last week, but sunshine will help straighten the plants back up again. Both corn and soybean conditions remain at 5.

SOUTHEAST ILLINOIS

Corn condition remains at 5. There was no rain last week until Saturday, when it started raining and through Monday morning, totals have approached 5 inches (127 mm). This is not viewed as negative for crops yet, but no rain will be desired for a bit. The uppermost leaves on the corn plants are chest-high. Soybean condition remains at 4, and plants are starting to put on blooms, which eventually give way to pod growth.

CENTRAL INDIANA

Conditions remain steady at 5 for corn and 4 for soybeans. Weekend rainfall was ample, totaling 2.5 inches (64 mm), and the crops are sitting in a great spot, moisture-wise.

CENTRAL OHIO

Soybean condition remains at 3, but corn condition increased to 4 from a 3 last week. The fields received 1.7 inches (43 mm) Saturday night. Unlike most other Crop Watch locations, the Ohio fields have experienced average to cooler weather over the last week and could use a hot and dry stretch to encourage more growth. That favorable pattern is expected this weekend.

More information on Crop Watch 2018 can be found on Twitter using the hashtag #CropWatch18 or by following the handle @kannbwx.

Editing by Matthew Lewis

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