Lofty crop ratings are the rule again this week. Corn, at 76% good to excellent, is unchanged for the second straight week and is just above the rating of the most recent record-yield season of 2014. Most of the Eastern Corn Belt and just over half of the Western Corn Belt saw the corn ratings improve.
Soybeans also are at high levels for condition, at 72% good to excellent, one percentage point higher than a week ago. This rating is essentially equal to 2014. There was sharp improvement in Louisiana and Mississippi following a round of milder temperatures along with rain.
Row-crop progress is also moving along well. Corn is 91% silked, six points ahead of average, and 30% in the dough stage, five points ahead of average. Soybeans are 85%bloomed, six points ahead of average, and 54% in the pod-setting stage, ten points ahead of average.
Spring wheat ratings are steady with a week ago at 68% good to excellent. North Dakota's rating improved slightly, while Idaho and South Dakota declined slightly. The overall rating is two points behind the 70% good to excellent total a year ago.
On soil moisture, the overall situation did not change very much because of several occurrences of rain. There were some big individual state moves, however. Pennsylvania saw its soil moisture improve by 17 percentage points. Drier states remain that way -- Ohio is 61% short to very short, with South Dakota 47% short to very short, and Michigan 46% short to very short. In the Southeast, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama are at least 50% short to very short on soil moisture.
Conditions remain generally favorable for crops as we look to the next week. Forecast rainfall the next seven days has "ring of fire" rain over the northern and central Plains -- much of the Midwest -- and into the Southeast. There's a fair amount of activity indicated for the Canadian Prairies as well. Temperatures generally stay very mild for the season -- certainly during the day. This is generally stress-free for crops early in August. The only above-normal temperature areas are in the far Southern Plains and the eastern Great Lakes through eastern Canada.
Then, during next week, the U.S. forecast model shows a hot upper level high to center over the southeastern U.S. The flow around that high actually serves to keep Gulf of Mexico moisture moving into the Midwest -- which leads to additional chances for rain and keeps temperatures mild for the season. Row crops benefit notably. However -- spring wheat harvest in the Northern Plains and the Canadian Prairies will see some disruptions due to shower activity.
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