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Crop Ratings Tumble and Acreage Estimates For U.S. and Brazilian Crops

Update for June 24th, 2021

USDA crop condition ratings were lowered again this week. The overall GD/EX corn rating as of Sunday, June 20th fell from 68% to 65% vs 72% last year. Also of note is the Poor to Very Poor rating categories which now account for 6% of the nation’s corn crop. Most concerning is the corn crop in Iowa, the top corn production state in the U.S. took another hit this week. A week ago, the GD/EX rating crumbled 14% from 77% to 63% this week it dropped again and now sits at just 56%. Illinois was also impacted by hot and dry conditions last week; especially hard hit were the northern tiers of counties. Overall, the state’s GD/EX ratings fell by 4% to 64%, Indiana was off by 3%. Minnesota now has just 50% of their crop in the GD/EX categories, North Dakota 39%, and falling 11% in just the past week is South Dakota with a worrisome 34% GD/EX rating.

Soybean crop conditions also declined this week with 60% of the U.S. crop now in the GD/EX categories vs 70% a year ago. Again, the crop situation in Iowa is very concerning with just 57% rated GD/EX vs 80% last season. Ratings in Minnesota fell from 61% GD/EX to 53% this week vs 80% last year, Missouri is 56% GD/EX, South Dakota 33% vs 78% in 2020 and the North Dakota soy crop has deteriorated to just 23% GD/EX vs 70% a year ago.

Next Wednesday, June 30th the USDA Planted Acreage report will be released. Various groups have been estimating the 2021 corn and soybean crop acres for months. Based on a survey of 2,000 producers Farmers Business Network (FBN) announced their U.S. corn acreage estimate at 92.9 million acres, Pro Farmer projects 93.6 million corn acres both of which are higher than the March USDA estimate of 91.1. For soybeans FBN estimates 86.5 million acres of U.S. soybeans have been planted, Pro Farmer projects 88.7 million. These soybean estimates range on both sides of the USDA March plantings intentions number of 86.7 million acres.

The outlook for Brazil’s soybean acreage shows another increase is expected for this season. The head of Aprosoja, a farm group in Brazil, says they project a 5.5% increase in soybean acres for the 2021/22 crop which raises plantings from just over 93 million acres last season to nearly 99 million for the upcoming season. This would be the largest soybean acreage ever planted by any country on record. The USDA estimates the Brazilian yield for the 21/22 crop season at 144 MMT an almost 6% increase over the estimate for this year. Early soybean planting for Brazilian farmers begins in September.

The Renewable Fuels Association conducted a poll of 1,100 registered voters regarding their view on ethanol, biofuels and the RFS. Ken Colombini with the RFA told Brownfield Ag, “One thing that kind of struck us especially this time around is that voter support for the RFS hit its highest level in at least five years.” The survey showed that 64% said they support the RFS with nearly 30% expressing strong support. “This went across party lines actually because among registered voters, 76% of Democrats and 57% of Republicans supported the RFS. Those who call themselves independents also came in at 57% in support of the RFS.” RFA CEO Geoff Cooper says the poll demonstrates that even in times of political division and polarization most American’s can agree on the need for cleaner, greener American made fuels.

Lawmakers from several rural U.S. agriculture states are in the process of introducing bills over the next several weeks that will request federal funds be made available to retailers for the addition of more high-biofuel blend pumps and tax credits be offered to automakers that put more “flex fuel” vehicles on the road. The hope is to slip these provisions into Biden’s massive infrastructure bill while we wait on a decision by the EPA regarding the request from oil refiners for some relief from their biofuel blending obligations.

Over the past 20 years the U.S. Drought Monitor has tracked, monitored and ran comparisons on droughts across the country. The map shown below was created by climatologist Becky Bolinger and published on It is of little surprise that the states of Arizona and Nevada are two of the most drought prone states in America with drought conditions present more than 50% of the time. California also ranks high on the list with drought present at least 40% of the time. What is notable this year is the scope and intensity of the dryness, right now more than one quarter of the western U.S. is at the D4 drought level which is a new record.

Week after week forecasts for rainfall have proven false for the parched North Central U.S. and Corn Belt. Weathertrends 360 reports that so far during the month of June Iowa is the #1 hottest in more than 36 years and the 2nd driest since 1988. If it doesn’t rain very soon major crop losses in the Western Corn Belt are inevitable. The following map ranks the amount of actual precipitation received by climate district from June 25, 2020 through June 24, 2021 in comparison to the same date range over the past 129 years.

The precipitation forecast from NOAA for the next 7 days.

The GFS and EURO model forecasts through next Saturday.

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