As of Jul. 21, 40 percent of the U.S. soybean crop had bloomed and 7 percent had set pods. Crop condition held steady week over week at 54 percent good to excellent and 12 percent poor to very poor.
The five-year averages for this time of year are 66 percent bloomed and 28 percent setting pods. That average is a bit skewed to the high side by 2018’s early planting and rapid development, however. Excluding last year, the average pod set for this time of year is closer to 18 percent.
As the Grain Belt heads toward August, the soybean market is eyeing temperature and precipitation forecasts, as heatwaves during pod set and seed fill can be detrimental to yield. Another factor that may influence eventual yield is sunlight hours: Soybeans plants need plentiful sunlight to retain pods and support seed fill. This year’s crop development is at least two weeks behind average, so a significant portion of the crop will need a lot of sun even as days get shorter.