US: Crop Progress

November 29, 2021 03:00 CST

This full text file contains reports, issued weekly during the growing season (April to November), which lists planting, fruiting, and harvesting progress and overall condition of selected crops in major producing states. The data, summarized by crop and by state, are republished along with any revisions in the Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin. During the months of December through March, the report is issued monthly titled State Stories.

These reports offer weekly analysis of the progress and condition of the crops. State-by-state data is provided, which is aggregated into a number that covers the key producing states that make up the majority of the US crop.

Crop Progress is measured by stages and percentage of completion. This includes percent planted, percent harvested, and several stages in between. Some the stages vary from crop to crop. For example, intermediate stages for corn include emergence, silk, dough, dent, and maturity, while the stages for soybeans include emergence, bloom, setting pods, and dropping leaves. The reports compare the current week with the same time the previous year and with the 5-year average.

Inclement weather in the spring can delay planting, which could ultimately lower the production for that year. For corn, producers may be forced to picker faster-growing but lower-yielding seed varieties if planting gets delayed. In some cases they may switch to soybeans, which have a shorter growing season. If it is excessively hot and dry during the corn silking stage, yields could drop, and a delayed start to the season could push silking later in the summer and increase the odds of that happening. A key stage to watch for soybeans in pod-filling, as excessively dry weather during that stage could result in smaller beans and lower yield. If the crops are late, there is an increased chance of frost before the plants have matured, which can also reduce yield.

Crop Conditions are measured by five categories: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor and Very Poor. As a rule of thumb, analysts tend to focus on the percentage that is in the good and excellent categories (Good/Excellent) and to a lesser extent to Poor/Very Poor. The reports include data on the current week, the previous week, and a year prior.

Analysts look at the weekly conditions data during the growing season to get an idea on how the crop is performing relative previous years. If the crop conditions are poor, analysts may want to reduce their production estimates, and vice-versa if the crop conditions are strong. Analysts may also look at individual states' conditions in light of the weather those areas are experiencing.