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July 10, 2019

2019 U.S. Crops continue to be behind in their Development

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

2019 U.S. Corn - The condition of the corn crop improved 1% last week to 57% rated good to excellent. Most of the improvements were found in the western and northwestern Corn Belt. The warmer temperatures encouraged more rapid growth of the corn, which resulted in the improved rating.

The 2019 U.S. corn crop is 98% emerged compared to 100% last year and 100% for the 5-year average. The corn is 8% silking compared to 34% last year and 22% for the 5-year average. The major challenge for the corn crop this year is its delayed development. It is hard to believe that during the second week of July 2% of the corn (approximately 1.8 million acres) has not emerged! Silking has started in the southern United States, but it is still several weeks away from starting in most of the Corn Belt, especially in the eastern Corn Belt.

A lot of the corn in the eastern Corn Belt will pollinate during August instead of July. The latest planted corn will not pollinate until early September and it is going to have a very difficult time maturing before the first frost. Depending on when it was planted, the corn development is 2-3-4-5-6 weeks behind its normal development.

Corn acreage - I continue to use a corn planted acreage of 85.3 million acres. There are so many empty fields in the eastern Corn Belt that 2019 will certainly have a record amount of prevent plant acreage. There are a lot of holes in the fields as well, so I continue to estimate that 88.5% of the planted corn will be harvested for grain. Therefore, I am using a corn harvested acreage of 75.5 million acres.

Impact of Potential dryness - After such a wet spring and early summer, we may have to start worrying about the potential for dryer conditions. One week of hot and dry weather is beneficial for the crops, two weeks of warm and dry conditions would be neutral and three weeks of that type of weather would be detrimental for the crops. Much of the Corn Belt is now in week two of that type of weather and it remains to be seen if next week will also be warm and dry.

The onset of a drought would be bad news for the late planted corn that is still very small with a shallow root system. The crop was planted under adverse conditions so it can ill afford a prolonged period of dry weather.

2019 U.S. Soybeans - The condition of the U.S. soybean crop declined 1% last week to 53% rated good to excellent. The warmer and dryer weather encouraged the growth of some of the soybean, while other soybeans continued to struggle due to saturated conditions.

The U.S. soybean crop is 96% planted compared to 100% last year and 99% for the 5-year average. The soybeans are 90% emerged compared to 100% last year and 98% for the 5-year average. The soybeans are 10% blooming compared to 44% last year and 32% for the 5-year average.

It is the second week of July and there are still 10% of the soybeans not emerged or approximately 8 million acres. Some of those are the traditional double crop soybeans, but many are not double crop, but simply soybeans planted extremely late. I think the delayed soybean development is a big concern, especially in the eastern Corn Belt. The soybean development is OK if it was mid-May, it's not OK for the second week of July.

Soybean acreage - I left the 2019 U.S. soybean acreage unchanged this week at 82.0 million acres. There are a lot of empty fields especially in the eastern Corn Belt and even in the fields that are planted, there are holes where standing water drowned out the soybeans. I also left the harvested percentage at 97.5% which results in a harvested acreage of 79.9 million acres.

Impact of Potential dryness - An immediate risk for the soybeans would be if we have an extended period of hot and dry weather. These very small soybeans are shallow rooted and the rows won't be closed for at least 3 more weeks, so the sun is hitting bare soil increasing evaporation rates. It is possible that the topsoil could dry out enough in the next few weeks so that the late developing soybeans could start to exhibit moisture stress.