Although parts of the United States are suffering from drought conditions, the national corn and soybean crops conditions are near ideal, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) meteorologist Brad Rippey.
“U.S. corn and soybean conditions are very close to records over the past two decades,” Rippey said in a USDA report. “The only year that corn was appreciably higher in condition was the then-record-setting year of 2004, when we easily set an all-time yield and production record. For soybeans, we’re running pretty much right on par with 2004 and 2014 in a virtual tie for first place over the last 22 years, going back to the mid-1990s.”
Rippey said 76 percent of the nation’s corn crop and 72 percent of the soybean crop are rated in good to excellent condition.
While drought conditions in most of the Midwest have dropped over the summer, overall drought coverage has increased.
Drought coverage has “nearly doubled since we reached a drought minimum of about one-eighth of the country in mid-March,” Rippey said. “During the last four weeks, we saw a drought coverage increase of more than three percentage points.
“In the range of 5 to 7 percent of the soybean and corn production areas have been in drought during the past four weeks.”
Rippey said the drought coverage is centered on areas across the Central and Eastern U.S. – notably the Black Hills, from the lower Great Lakes region into the Northeast, and from the southern Appalachians westward into parts of northern and central Mississippi.
The USDA will release its monthly crop report early next week.