Fundamentally Speaking

History of First Soybean Crop Ratings

Joel Karlin
By  Joel Karlin , DTN Contributing Analyst
By Joel Karlin, DTN Contributing Analyst

Earlier this week the USDA released its first national soybean condition report for the 2022 season and similar to what we did with corn last week, we use our usual ratings system 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.

This year's first rating came in week 23 which is usually around the second week of June.

This graph shows the week 23 soybean ratings for the top 18 producing states and the U.S. for this year, last year and the average, worst and best week 23 ratings for the time period 2000-2022 (with the exception of 2009 and 2019 where the pace of soybean seedings those years was so lagging that the USDA did not release the first crop ratings until later in June so there are 20 years' worth of data).

We should note that the correlation between the first soybean crop ratings of the year and the percent that final yields deviate from trend is a very low 5%, so we really can't make much of a definitive judgement about how yields will fare this year as there is simply too much of the growing season left.

Still it is interesting to see which state or states is/are off to a good start and which are not.

The week 23 U.S. rating this year is 750 which is a good bit above the year ago number of 722 and slightly above the 2000-2022 average of 740 with the high of 766 seen in 2018 and the low of 700 seen in 2001.

The lowest rated states as of the second week of June are those that saw a wet spring resulting in delayed seedings.

This resulted in a low first week rating and includes Ohio at 716, North Dakota at 722 (which is their third lowest initial soybean rating since 2000 though well above last year's drought stricken 570 figure) and Minnesota at 728 (which is the fourth lowest ranking since 2000); note that both ND and MN seeing this year's ratings most behind their respective averages.

On the other hand, the two largest producing states and those in the Delta are starting the 2022 soybean growing season in fine fashion as Arkansas has the highest rating of any state at 808 which is also the top figure since 2000, as is the case with Louisiana with a 782 rating.

Iowa at 790 has their second-best initial soybean rating in 20 years while Illinois at 772 has their fourth-best ranking, as does Kentucky and Missouri.

Should also note that all five of these states have 2022 rankings well above their average first week ratings while just six states have this year's week 23 rating below the year ago level.


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