In our final piece on weekly 2015 U.S. soybean crop conditions we show the national ratings of each as of week 40 that is usually the first week of October.
We used the weekly crop progress ratings from 1986 to 2015 though a number of years are not included as the crop was so far mature or harvested that the USDA was no longer issuing weekly crop condition reports for that particular marketing season.
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 accompanying graphic shows this year's soybean rating at 732 and the corn rating at 750.
The corn rating is the third highest since 2004, trailing last year but just shy of the 2009 reading when a national record yield was established while the soybean reading is also the third highest since 2004 albeit below the year ago figure of 772 which is the highest ever.
Interestingly the USDA lowered the 2014 U.S. soybean yield in last week when they released the quarterly stocks report as of September 1 and the Small Grains summary by 0.3 bushels per acre to 47.5 bpa, still a record.
Even though thus year's beginning of October rating is well below the year ago levels, superlative yield reports even from areas in the Eastern Corn Belt suggest that the USDA could increase its 2015 projection from the 47.1 bpa estimate given in the September report.