corn with blue skies

Weekly Commentary: Big week ahead with the USDA crop report, colder weather and trade talks


Quick Glance

  • Corn and soybean conditions both drop
  • All eyes on USDA crop report released on Thursday, expectations for cuts
  • Colder temperatures will hit much of the grain belt
  • U.S.-China trade talks resume this week

Crop Progress

  • Corn conditions dropped 1% to 56% good to excellent (GTE) vs. 68% GTE last year
    • U.S. harvest is at 15% completed versus the 27% five-year average.
    • Corn denting is up to 93%, not too far behind the five-year average of 99%
    • Only 58% of corn is mature compared the 85% average.
  • Soybean conditions dropped by two to 53% GTE compared to last year’s 68% GTE condition rating.  
    • 72% of surveyed soybeans are dropping leaves versus the 87% average.
    • Soybean harvesting is reportedly behind with 14% harvested vs. the 34% average.


  • Chicago corn rose Monday morning ahead of a closely watched USDA report on world crop supplies due on Thursday. Analysts polled by Reuters are expecting the department to cut estimates for U.S. corn and soybean harvests. 


  • Weather focus is on the cooler temperatures expected across the Dakota’s, Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa. While frost risks currently remain low, the colder temps may damage corn that hasn’t reached maturity yet. It’s important to note, crops still remain one to two weeks behind normal development.

U.S.-China trade updates

  • U.S. and Chinese deputy trade negotiators launched a new round of talks today, which will be followed by a high-level trade meeting in Washington on Oct. 10-11. Reuters reports Trump’s administration is seeking stronger protections of U.S. intellectual property, an end to forced transfers of American technology to Chinese firms, curbs to industrial subsidies and increased access to China's largely closed domestic markets.
  • China has booked deals for about three point five million tonnes of U.S. soybeans since early September, around ten percent of its annual purchases prior to the trade war. The country had sourced the bulk of its purchases from South America since the trade war with the U.S. began in 2018. China gave waivers to several importers to buy U.S. soy exempt from tariffs as a goodwill gesture ahead of the negotiations.

Biofuel update

  • The Trump administration’s biofuel announcement last Friday was expected to give details on the biofuels deal but only gave vague descriptions without any specifics. The Environmental Protection Agency said it would ensure “more than 15 billion gallons” of ethanol be blended into the U.S. fuel supply in 2020, but this doesn’t change much considering volumes of 20 billion gallons have been proposed in previous discussions. Additionally, the EPA said it would continue to evaluate options for transparency and reform in biofuel credit trading and remove barriers to the sale of E15 gasoline.