Fundamentally Speaking

U.S. Soybean Ratings Buoyed by Delta

Joel Karlin
By  Joel Karlin , DTN Contributing Analyst
Chart by Joel Karlin, DTN Contributing Analyst

On Monday, the USDA said 54% of the soybean crop was rated good to excellent, one percentage point less than last week and roughly the same as in 2019 when conditions were too wet and again below trade guesses for at least a 1% improvement.

With more stressful weather this week than last we likely could see a drop in ratings next Monday, but the question is to what degree.

Actually, using 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, the U.S. soybean rating for week 29 (around the third week of July) comes in at 688 which is the lowest since 574 in 2012 and prior to that 642 back in 2002.

This year we have seen some of the corn states outside of the Corn Belt have better ratings than some of the core Midwest states such as Iowa, Illinois, or Indiana, in particular Texas and Colorado and this also appears to be the case for the 2023 soybean crop.

This chart shows the soybean crop ratings for week 29 for the top 18 producing states for 2023, the 1986-2023 average and where this year's week 29 rating ranks for the complete week 29 history from 1986 to 2023 where 1 is the highest ranking and 38 is the lowest ranking.

Should note that USDA did not include North Dakota or Wisconsin in the top 18 until 2000.

We have observed that the Delta region probably has had about the best weather this growing season of any of the major U.S. row crop producing areas.

This is reflected in the fact that the three states of the 18 that are not also included as part of the top 18 corn producing states are Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi and have the best ratings of all.

Arkansas has a week 29 rating of 770 which is 11.2% above its 1986-2023 average and is the second best ever next to 1987, while Louisiana has an even better 772 rating which is the most above its average at 11.2% and is the fifth best rated soybean crop for this time of year.

The best rating is seen in Mississippi at 782, also its fifth best and 9.8% above its average.

Contrast this with those states that are faring rather poorly led by Missouri whose 558 rating is second worst next to 2012 and is 16.5% below its average.

We can also single out Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin as having less than stellar crop prospects at least for this time of the season.


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