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NAPERVILLE, (Ill.) US Crop Watch producers have offered strong initial health scores on their corn fields, consistent with previous feedback on the crops’ even and efficient emergence.

Their soybean fields have not gotten as good a start since the weather has been less ideal for emergence, though it is still too early to assess five of the 11 soy fields, and one is still unplanted.

Crop Watch follows 11 corn and 11 soybean fields across nine US states from planting through harvest. A map of the 11 locations is included below, and the states and counties of the Crop Watch fields are listed at the end of this column.

The North Dakota corn field was planted on May 24, leaving just two of the 22 fields unplanted. The North Dakota soybeans could be planted early next week at best. Wet conditions have put off the Ohio corn planting, but the producer is not yet worried about the date as he has had successful June-planted corn in the past.

Each week the producers will assign condition scores to their fields using a scale of 1 to 5. The ratings are similar to the US Department of Agriculture’s system where 1 is very poor, 3 is average and 5 is excellent, but the Crop Watch condition scores do not incorporate yield assumptions. Yield ratings will come later in the season.

There are no corn conditions yet for North Dakota or Ohio, but four of the 11 producers rated their corn a 4, two gave mid-4 scores and three scored perfect 5s. Both Iowa locations plus southeastern Illinois are the ones with the best conditions.

Corn conditions average 4.42 over those nine fields, better than the 4.25 from the same nine in the same week a year ago. That is a similar start as the 2020 edition of Crop Watch for comparable fields but better than in 2018 or 2019. Only eight producers participated in 2020 and earlier versions of Crop Watch. Six producers offered soybean conditions this week.

Eastern Iowa scored a 5, and 4s were given to the beans in Nebraska, Kansas, southeastern Illinois and Indiana. The western Illinois field scored just 3, as the week-ago replant preceded a large rainfall, which is what caused the problem for the original planting on May 2.

Condition comparisons with prior Crop Watches will begin for soybeans once more scores are in. USDA’s statistics service will not publish initial national corn conditions on Tuesday, though it is likely to do so in next week’s report. National soybean conditions could be included next week pending progress as of May 29.

The North Dakota and Ohio Crop Watch locations need some drier weather ahead, and North Dakota may be in luck as rain amounts over the next week are forecast to be the lightest in several weeks. Rain this past weekend in North Dakota means the producer can resume planting on Friday at the earliest.

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