Even though it is generally acknowledged that August is the critical month for soybean development, end of July crop ratings are so high that estimates for the upcoming crop production report are well into record territory.
In that vein, similar to what we did with corn, this chart shows the end of July ratings for each of the top 18 soybean producing states and the U.S. for this year, last year and then the 1986-2020 average.
We use our usual ratings system where we weight the crop based on the percent in each category and assign that category a factor of 2 for very poor, 4 for poor, 6 for fair, 8 for good, and 10 for excellent and then sum the results.
Also shown is where this year's end of July soybean rating ranks over the past 20 years where a 1 means the highest rating since 2000 and 20 means the lowest rating over the past 20 years as denoted by the number in the yellow boxes.
We start by noting that on a national basis, this year's U.S. end of July rating of 761 is the highest of the past 20 years and since the USDA started tabulating soybean crop conditions on a countrywide basis, only 1992's 764 rating and the top rating of all-time of 792 two years later have exceeded it.
On a statewide basis, only three southern states -- MS, NC and TN -- have crop ratings below year ago levels, while only North Carolina has ratings below its 1986-2020 average.
While none of the 18 states has their highest end of July rating in the past 20 years as is the case with the national rating, four states including AR, LA, MN and WI have their second-best ratings since 2000 with Kansas and Missouri having their third highest ratings of the past 20 years.
The fact that the U.S. soybean rating is the third highest ever, and the loftiest in 26 years along with eight of the 18 states in the upper 25% of their past 20 years of end of July crop ratings, suggests record soybean yield expectations may be even more justified than those for corn.
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