Corn continues to show mixed tendencies as the initial FSA numbers and private crop tours leave more uncertainty and ambiguity than solid definitive answers. The FSA numbers have the bulls thinking there may have been fewer corn acres planted than the USDA is currently estimating. On the flip side the bears are thinking there could be fewer failed acres.
Obviously, a lot will depend on how the acres in the Eastern portion of the Corn Belt, primarily Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, are finalized. Just keep in mind the past few years we've seen some fairly significant swings in the early USDA acreage estimates compared to their final acreage estimate.
The first leg of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour is behind us and I really didn't see any major surprises. The Western leg of the tour showed strong production in South Dakota, with a yield estimate of 165.9 bushels per acre vs. the current USDA yield of 160 bushels per acre. Keep in mind, the first day of scouts touring Nebraska also yielded what some are calling "phenomenal" results. We should find out the total Nebraska estimate later this evening when scouts gather in Nebraska City.
The Eastern leg of the tour, as expected, showed extreme variability and started out a bit shaky with the Ohio yield being estimated at just 148.37 bushels per acre vs. the current USDA yield of 168. From what I understand, the ears counts in Ohio were actually a bit better than last year, it was the grain length at just 5.81 inches that was well below the tour's most recent three year average. Some reports indicated yields in Ohio ranged form 65 bushels to 195 bushels just depending on location and planting dates. Look for the Indiana results to be released this evening.
My personal opinion is I doubt scouts will find the necessary bushels in Indiana to average out to what the USDA is estimating to be a 158 state-wide yield. The USDA actually lowered their crop condition estimate this week from 70% good/excellent down to 69%. States like IA, KS, KY, MN, MO, SD, PA, TX and WI took steps backward, while corn in IN, MI, NE and ND improved a touch. The USDA also showed 71% of the U.S. corn crop was in the dough stage, which is actually well ahead of the 66% 5-year average. The USDA also estimated 21% of the U.S. crop is in the dent stage. The harvest down South continues to roll on with LA reporting 74% of their crop now harvested; GA 42% complete; MS 31% harvested; AR 12% and AL 10%...all running ahead of their traditional average harvest pace.