“Crop condition from this point forward will be absolutely critical,” says John Anderson, Mississippi State University agricultural economist. Writing in the most recent In the Cattle Markets, Anderson explains, “Right now, crop condition ratings look all right but if they begin to slip the potential for further reductions in yield estimates is likely… Remember that in 2008, even an exceptional growing season didn't get the crop back to trend line yields. This year's crop was later getting in the ground than last year's. So, with current acreage expectations, this means production falling short of use and declining corn stocks. The bottom line is this: long-run fundamental support for high corn prices is not likely to erode much any time soon.”

For the week ending June 14, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service:

Corn – 95% has emerged, compared to 94% last year and the 98% average. Despite cooler-than-normal temps, the most advancement occurred in North Dakota, where 25% percent of the corn crop emerged during the week, pushing development to 90% complete, 6 points behind last year and 8 points behind normal. The corn crop was rated 70% Good to Excellent, 13% more than a year ago.

Soybeans – 87% is planted, which is 4% ahead of last year but 5% behind normal. The most activity was evident in Arkansas and Kentucky, where 19% of the intended soybean acreage was planted in both states during the week. Despite this progress, Arkansas remained two weeks behind the five-year average and Kentucky slightly over one week behind normal. 72% has emerged, which is 3% ahead of last year, but 11% behind average. 66% is rated as Good to Excellent, which is 10% more than at the same time last year.

Winter wheat –90% advanced to the heading stage, 2% ahead of the same time last year, but 3% behind average. The most advancement was seen in South Dakota, Washington and Michigan, where 32%, 29% and 28% of the crop put on heads during the week. 9% has been harvested (about half of it last week), which is 7% behind last year and 10% behind average. Harvest had not yet begun or was behind normal in all states except California and North Carolina. 44% of the winter wheat acreage was rated Good to Excellent, 3% less than a year ago.

Spring Wheat –93% of the crop has emerged, which is 6% behind last year and the average pace. Emergence was complete or nearly complete in all states except North Dakota. 75% of the crop was rated Good to Excellent, 8% more than a year ago.

Barley – 93% has emerged, which is 6% behind last year and 5% behind the average pace. Emergence was complete or nearly complete in the Pacific Northwest, but lagged normal in Minnesota, Montana and North Dakota. 80% is rated Good to Excellent, compared to 69% at the same time a year ago.

Sorghum – 81% of the intended acreage is sown, 9% ahead of last year and 3% ahead of average. Progress was slightly ahead of last year’s and the normal pace in Kansas and Texas, the two largest sorghum-producing states.

Oats – 40% is at or beyond heading, 2 points better than last year, but 5% behind the 5-year average. The most crop development was evident in Ohio and Iowa, where 29% and 25% of the crop put on heads during the week. 55% was rated Good and Excellent, compared to 62% at the same time last year.

Pasture – 60% of the nation’s pasture and range is rated as Good or Excellent, 9% more than at the same time last year. 14% is rated Poor or Very Poor, compared to 23% a year ago. States with the worst pasture conditions – at least 30% of the acreage rated poor or worse – include: Arizona (53%), California (60%), New Mexico (57%) and Texas (33%).

The lushest conditions – at least 40% rated good or better – exist in: Alabama (86%), Arkansas (70%), Colorado (58%), Florida (59%), Georgia (75%), Idaho (80%), Illinois (83%), Indiana (79%), Iowa (69%), Kansas (73%), Kentucky (72%), Louisiana (46%), Maine (93%), Maryland (88%), Michigan (71%), Minnesota (43%), Mississippi (64%), Missouri (72%), Montana (60%), Nebraska (78%), Nevada (53%), New York (82%), North Carolina (88%), North Dakota (65%), Ohio (70%), Oklahoma (70%), Oregon (64%), Pennsylvania (79%), South Carolina (73%), South Dakota (71%), Tennessee (79%), Utah (76%), Virginia (84%), Washington (46%), West Virginia (62%), Wisconsin (65%), and Wyoming (84%).