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Crop Progress: Winter wheat conditions stabilize

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Quick hits: Corn harvest is largely finished, only one update left for the season

USDA released its latest Crop Progress report through the week ending November 20 yesterday. Here are the highlights from the report:

  • This is the second to last Crop Progress report of the season. Next week’s report will be the last and will only feature harvest updates for cotton and peanuts and winter wheat crop conditions.
  • It’s the last week of corn harvest updates! Last week was the final week of reporting for soybean harvest.

Winter wheat conditions remain dire

  • Winter wheat condition ratings held steady at 32% for the second straight week.
    • Analysts had been banking on at least a 1% increase in the winter wheat ratings leading up to the report, but USDA did not warrant a change from last week, opening the door to some potentially bullish price action in the overnight wheat markets.
    • Winter wheat conditions have been improving in recent weeks, but poor conditions this fall due to drought across the Midwest and Plains means that Fall 2022 conditions for the 2023 growing season are likely worse than the 2012/13 season, which had the lowest fall condition ratings prior to this year.
  • Winter wheat emergence rates surpassed the five-year average thanks to more moderate fall weather and some precipitation across the Midwest and Plains over the past week.
    • As of November 20, 87% of the U.S. winter wheat crop had emerged, 1% ahead of the five-year average for the same reporting period and 6% ahead of last week’s rates.

Corn harvest winds down

  • As of November 20, 96% of U.S. corn had been harvested, up 3% from the previous week and 6% ahead of the five-year average.
    • Harvest is wrapping up ahead of schedule in every major corn-producing state (except Pennsylvania).
    • Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania still have some fields left standing, though the majority of crops in those states have already been combined.
    • USDA’s 96% completion rate was on the low end of analyst expectations (96%-97%), but with most of the crop already out of fields, the pre-report analyst miss is not likely to make a difference in prices during the overnight trading session.

For more details, you can view USDA’s weekly Crop Progress report here.

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