So far, prospects of a near-record corn crop are impacting prices more than estimated reductions in world and domestic grain supplies.

According to Darrel Good, University of Illinois Extension economist, "The price structure changed over the past few weeks as the market worried about a late harvest and a harvest that could get stretched out due to a period of wet weather. There are also some who believe USDA's September production forecast overstates the potential size of the 2006 crop, pointing to an implied high average ear weight in that report and reports of lower-than-expected yields in some areas."

Additionally, Good explains, "Crop condition ratings (60% in good or excellent condition as of Sept. 17) don't point to a yield as high as the 154.7 bu. forecast by USDA, even though actual yields have exceeded yields projected by crop ratings for the past seven years. It is rare, but not unprecedented, for the production estimate in January after harvest to be below the September forecast following an increase in the forecast from August to September. Over the past 35 years, that scenario occurred three times (1973, 1974 and 1990). There were only eight years in total over the past 35 that the January corn production estimate was below the September forecast by a meaningful amount."

You can find Good's complete "Weekly Outlook" at:

For the week ending Sept. 24, according to National Ag Statistics Service (NASS).

  • Corn -- Maturation is at 75% , 1% ahead of last year, and 8% ahead of normal. 13% is harvested , which is 4% behind last year and 2% behind the five-year average. 61% is rated Good or better , compared to 52% last year.
  • Soybeans -- 70% of the acreage was at or beyond dropping leaves , 10% behind last year but 1% ahead of the average. Growers have harvested 9% of the crop , compared to 17% at this time last year and 12% for the average. 62% is rated Good or better ; 55% was at the same time last year.
  • Winter wheat -- 36% of the crop is sown , 2% less than the same time last year and 3% less than average. Planting was most advanced in Colorado at 70%. 10% of the crop has emerged , compared to 11% last year and 14% for average. Emergence was most advanced in Colorado and Washington at 23% and 20%, respectively.
  • Sorghum -- 85% was at or beyond turning color , 3% behind last year and 3% off the normal pace. 53% is mature , compared to 52% last year and 57% for average. 34% has been harvested , compared to 30% last year, but the same as average. 33% is rated Good or better , compared to 48% last year.
  • Pasture -- 30% is rated Good or Excellent , compared to 29% last year. 22% is rated Poor and 19% is ranked Very Poor , compared to 24% and 14% respectively at the same time last year.
States with the worst pasture conditions -- at least 40% of the acreage rated poor or worse -- include: Alabama (60%); Arizona (52%); Arkansas (41%); California (77%); Kansas (43%); Mississippi (49%); Missouri (54%); Montana (44%); Nebraska (46%); Nevada (63%); North Dakota (58%); Oklahoma (63%); Oregon (54%); South Dakota (46%); Texas (69%); and Wyoming (66%).

States with the lushest pasture conditions -- at least 40% rated good or better -- include: Florida (75%); Illinois (57%); Indiana (71%); Iowa (66%); Kentucky (69%); Maine (85%); Michigan (49%); New Mexico (66%); New York (59%); North Carolina (60%); Ohio (66%); Pennsylvania (55%); South Carolina (50%); Utah (43%); Virginia (47%); Washington (46%); West Virginia (59%); and Wisconsin (57%).