Early Iowa corn ratings are very positive

Source: Written by DAN PILLER, Des Moines Register • Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s first rating on the 2012 Iowa corn crop shows the newly planted corn 60 percent good condition and 21 percent excellent.

The 81 percent good-to-excellent rating surpasses the 70 percent rating that agronomists generally consider to indicate a potentially strong crop. Iowa’s April and May plantings were aided this year by timely April rainfall, which ease concerns about dry soil conditions.

The USDA said, however, that the percentage of Iowa soil that is deficient in moisture rose from 9 percent a week ago to 44 percent for the week ending Sunday.

Another sign of a strong crop; 81 percent of Iowa’s corn crop has emerged, vs. a five-year average of 59 percent.

Farmers traditionally like an early planted and emerged crop, helping it to pollinate earlier before late July and August heat and also making it less vulnerable to early frost in September.

The USDA report shows that 85 percent of Iowa’s soybean crop was planted as of Sunday, compared with a normal 60 percent by this date. Twenty-six percent of the soybean crop has emerged, double the normal progress by this date.

Weather concerns predominated on the Chicago Board of Trade on Monday, where the December corn contract gained 3 cents per bushel to $5.40 and November soybeans were up 1 cent to $13.06.

“Traders fear that may be the high point if the current warm and dry pattern locks in for the next month,” said analyst Arlan Suderman of Farm Futures Magazine.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey alluded to dry conditions that suddenly have settled over Iowa: “Much of the state is fairly dry, and many farmers are now looking for a rain shower after the warm temperatures and windy conditions last week.”

Some long-range weather forecasts have predicted a summer that will be hotter and drier than the Corn Belt has experienced in recent years. That propped up corn prices, which had dropped more than