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New Delhi — The US soybean crop condition rating remained steady on the week amid recent rains in some parts of the corn belt, which improved the soil moisture in the week ended Sept. 19, market sources said.

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As of Sept. 20, the US soybean crop condition remained at 63% of the total rated good to excellent, which is nine percentage points more than the same period a year ago, data released on Sept. 20 by the US Department of Agriculture showed.

The USDA's report was a surprise to agro-analysts, who were expecting ratings for soybean crop quality to fall at least one point on the week, industry sources said.

A steady US soybean crop rating is expected to pressure the prevailing climb in soybean prices.

November soybean futures are already trading around the multi-year high of over $10/bushel, and is steadily progressing towards $10.50/bu in the coming weeks, an analyst said.

The climb in futures markers have also supported port loading basis prices. S&P Global Platts assessed SOYBEX FOB New Orleans for November loading at $423.47/mt on Sept. 21, up 14% month on the month.

Meanwhile, 27% of the crop was rated fair, up a point from last week. The remaining 10% was rated poor or very poor, down a point from the last week, the USDA data showed.

So far, 59% of the planted soybean crop have dropped leaves, up from 37% last week and ahead of the prior five-year average of 50%, the data showed.

Measurable harvest has begun in 17 of the top 18 production states, with a national average of 6%, in line with the five-year average, the report said.

Dry weather is expected to prevail for the coming weeks as well, which signals swift soybean harvesting in the core regions of the Midwest.

The drier pattern in the Plains, southern and western Midwest, Delta, and Southeast will favor corn, soybean, and cotton harvesting, weather agency Maxar said Sept. 17. Rains in the northeastern Midwest should result in only minor harvest delays for corn and soybeans, it added.

The USDA surveyed 18 soybean producing states in the country, which accounted for 96% of the soy acreage for the 2019-2020 (September-August) marketing year.

Soybean planting generally begins by mid-April in the US, with sowing starting in the Midwest late April after the winter freeze and wet soil.

The USDA has forecast the country's soybean yield at 51.9 bu/acre, up 9% on the year, and output at 117.38 million mt in 2020-21, up 22% year on the year.