Despite a very dry second half of July, 2014 U.S. soybean crop ratings as of August 1 have only declined by 2% in the combined good or excellent categories from their peak levels.
Our contacts are reporting large plants, full canopied with flowers from top to bottom with more blooms being set each day and very clean looking plants with regard to weeds.
Incorporating 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 summing the results, U.S. crop conditions extrapolated to August 1 calculates to 760, the highest since 792 on 8/1/1994.
In fact this year's August 1 rating is the fourth highest ever topped only by the 1994, 1992, and 1987 readings.
This graphic shows the condition of each of the top 18 states as of August 1st, the average of August 1 conditions for each of the top states using 1986-2013 data, and what percentile this year's August 1 rating is in relation to the 1986-2014 data.
Some interesting features on the chart include that all but three of the top 18 soybean growing states (KS, KY and SD) have better, in some cases substantially higher August 1, 2014 ratings than the 1986-2013 August 1 average along with the U.S. ratings.
A sign of the generally good conditions throughout the soybean growing regions is the fact that 8 of the top 18 states and the U.S. as a whole having ratings in the top quarter of August 1 conditions since 1986.
Two of the states, Louisiana and Missouri have their best August 1 corn crop ratings ever.
Though much can change between now and harvest, based on these stellar crop ratings and rains falling this week, the USDA is expected to forecast a record 2014 U.S. soybean yield on their first field based crop production report to be released August 12.
Note that as opposed to corn where production is centered mostly in the Midwest, the area where soybeans are seeded is more geographically dispersed including the Midwest, Plains, Delta and Southeast and almost all of these regions have had favorable weather so far this growing season.