By Julie Ingwersen
CHICAGO, July 5 (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rated 64% of the U.S. corn crop in good to excellent condition in its weekly crop progress report, down 3 percentage points from a week ago and below the average of estimates in a Reuters poll.
Twelve analysts surveyed by Reuters on average had expected corn ratings to fall to 65% good-to-excellent.
In a report released on Tuesday, the USDA also rated 63% of the soybean crop as good to excellent, down from 65% the previous week. Analysts on average had expected a smaller decline of 1 percentage point.
Dry conditions in portions of the Midwest appeared to be a factor. The latest weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report showed abnormal dryness in 58% of Illinois and 47% of Iowa, the top two producers of soybeans and corn. But beneficial rains crossed portions of the Corn Belt on Monday.
“We did get some help in a lot of areas yesterday,” said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based U.S. Commodities. “The rain is critical. (Forecasts) have this rain hitting some of the dry areas in Illinois, some of the dry areas in Indiana and Ohio. So we will watch that very closely,” Roose said.
Most of the U.S. corn crop completes its key pollination phase in July, while August is the most important month for soybean development. Stressful weather during those periods can reduce crop prospects. The United States is the world’s biggest corn supplier and the No. 2 soybean exporter after Brazil.
Condition ratings improved for U.S. spring wheat, grown in the northern Plains. The USDA rated 66% of the crop as good to excellent, up from 59% the previous week. Analysts on average had expected no change.
The U.S. winter wheat harvest advanced to 54% complete as of July 3, ahead of the five-year average of 48% but behind the average analyst estimate of 57%. The USDA rated 31% of the winter wheat crop as good to excellent, up from 30% a week ago.
All figures in percent:
USDA last week
USDA this week
Spring wheat condition*
Winter wheat harvested (percent)
Winter wheat condition*
(Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; Editing by David Gregorio)
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