USDA: Corn acres expand again, July crop conditions good

By Susanne Retka Schill | July 01, 2013

A record corn crop may be in the making, weather cooperating. June 28 the USDA reported 97.4 million acres of corn was planted, up slightly from 2012 and the highest acreage since 1936. In the 18 states tracked for crop condition, the July 1CropProgress report shows 92 percent of the crop as being in fair, good to excellent conditions, at 25, 51 and 16 percent respectively. That compares with last year when 30 percent was in fair condition, 40 percent good and 8 percent in excellent condition. On average, just 2 percent of the crop is ranked as very poor and 6 percent poor. Colorado is showing the most stress with 12 percent very poor and 10 percent of its corn crop shown as poor.

The spring delays are apparent in the crop development report with the corn belt state of Illinois reporting just one percent in the silking phase, compared with 42 percent last year. Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin, all have no crop in the silking stage as yet, compared to most years’ progress of  3 to 10 percent .

In the corn acreage report, USDA said crop acres increased for the fifth consecutive year. Hampered by cold and wet weather in early spring in much of the major corn-producing region, U.S. growers had only 5 percent of the crop planted by April 28, making it the slowest planting pace since 1984. In May, however, the weather conditions improved significantly, helping U.S. corn growers to make great strides in planting. The week of May 19, farmers tied the fastest corn planting pace on record, planting 43 percent of the total crop during that one week. Overall, 63 percent of the corn crop was reported in good or excellent condition as of June 2, compared with 72 percent at the same time last year.

Despite being hampered by the same weather problems in the early spring, for U.S. soybean growers, 2013 is estimated to be a record-setting year. According to the report, farmers planted a record-high 77.7 million acres of soybeans this season, up 1 percent from last year. By June 16, soybean emergence remained behind the 5-year average in most of the soybean-growing states.