The USDA released its first weekly crop condition report for U.S. soybeans this week and the initial ratings are not only above year ago levels but appear to be the third highest level ever since the USDA began issuing nationwide soybean crop conditions back in 1986.
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 first soybean crop rating this year was 754 vs. 748 a year ago and also above the five and ten year averages which are both 744.
Similar to what we did with corn, this graphic shows the initial crop ratings along with the percent that the final U.S. soybean yield deviated from the 30 year trend.
We also added the date that the first crop report of the year was issued to help gauge whether an early release perhaps presaged a good yield or conversely a late release was related to a below trend yield.
The highest initial crop rating was in 2010 at 768 with final yields that year 1.5% above trend with the next highest first crop rating of the season at 762 with yields 5.4% above trend.
1998 and 1999 were next at 756 with final yields up 2.5% and down 4.5% from trend respectively.
The first crop rating in 2007 was tied with this year at 754 with final yields that season coming in right at trend.
On the other hand we have seen some year such as 1992 where a low first crop rating proved no hindrance to good yields with a record final yield being posted that season.
Obviously the first week of June is a long way removed from when the actual crop is made but having a favorable initial crop rating for soybeans may put it in better shape for final yields as the correlation between the initial crop rating for soybeans and the percent hat final yields deviate from the 30 year tend is 50.6% vs. 31.0% for corn.