Soybean futures soared more than 60 cents a bushel in the two nearby contracts on Aug. 26 due to concerns about the effects of hot, dry weather on the crop. Corn futures prices advanced as much as 30 cents a bushel, with corn and soybeans also pulling wheat futures higher for the day.
Of the two major row crops, soybean crop conditions lost the most ground in the latest week: four percentage points in the good-to-excellent category in the 18 major states, compared with the previous week. The corn crop deteriorated by two percentage points in the 18 major corn growing states, the USDA said.
A total of 58 percent of the soybean crop was rated good to excellent as of Aug. 25, down from 62 percent in the previous week. A total of 29 percent of the crop was rated fair, up from 28 percent a week earlier, and 13 percent was rated very poor to poor, up from 10 percent.
Despite the less-favorable crop conditions compared with the previous week, the soybean crop was in vastly better condition than the same date in 2012, a severe drought year, when 30 percent was rated good to excellent and 38 percent was rated very poor to poor.
The current soybean crop remains slightly behind the five-year average developmentally. The USDA said 84 percent of the crop was setting pods as of Aug. 25, down from the 2008-2012 average of 90 percent for the same date.
The 2013 corn crop in the 18 major states was rated 59 percent good to excellent as of Aug. 25, the USDA said, down from 61 percent the previous week. The crop was rated 27 percent fair and 14 percent very poor to poor, compared with 26 percent fair and 13 percent very poor to poor the previous week. Like the soybean crop, the 2013 corn crop was in significantly better shape as of Aug. 25 than the same date in 2012, when 22 percent was rated good to excellent, 26 percent was fair and a majority of the crop (52 percent) was rated very poor to poor.
The corn crop was somewhat behind developmentally because of planting delays caused by exceptional rains and cooler-than-normal temperatures in much of the Corn Belt this spring.
The USDA said 70 percent of the crop had reached the dough stage as of Aug. 25, down from the 79 percent five-year average. A total of 23 percent of the corn crop had dented in the latest week, well below the 2008-2012 average of 45 percent.