U.S. soy, corn ratings drop for first time in more than a month

U.S. corn and soybean condition ratings fell in the latest week, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Monday, the first decline for both crops in five weeks.

USDA said that soybeans were rated 71 percent good to excellent as of July 27, a 2 percentage point decline from a week earlier. Good-to-excellent ratings for corn fell 1 percentage point to 75 percent.

The declines surprised forecasters who were expecting that conditions for both corn and soybeans would hold steady.

Ratings declines for both corn and soybeans were noted in states such as North Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Indiana.

“Cool, dry, windy weather saw a number of farmers hoping for a rainstorm,” said the Indiana field office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Despite the drop, soybean ratings were still the best for late July since 1994, when the crop was rated 80 percent good to excellent. Corn ratings equaled conditions in July 2010. The last time the crop received a better rating at this time of year was in 2004.

Concerns about dry weather curtailing the size of the soy harvest in major production areas such as Iowa helped spur a 2.2 percent rally in new-crop November Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures on Monday.

“Farmers in southern Minnesota would like to see their crops receive a shot of rain to recharge moisture levels,” NASS’s Minnesota field office said.

USDA also said that spring wheat ratings were 70 percent good to excellent, unchanged from a week ago. Winter wheat was 83 percent harvested, 3 percentage points ahead of the 2009-13 average.

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