Grains prices are higher this morning as ratings decline rapidly.

Grain futures are higher this morning, led by soybeans, as crop ratings are in fast decline, likely absorbing some decline that should’ve been reported last week from the USDA. Yesterday, corn conditions fell -3% G/E and soybeans -5% G/E week-over-week. Corn is maturing early, and soybeans are dropping leaves at a rapid rate. Soybean ratings for a comparable week are at the lowest since 2012.

The corn crop is 18% mature, 16% is in the dent, and 93% is in the dough. The yield loss in dent and dough can be sizable, with corn plants placing 2% of dry matter in kernels daily. Also, 60% of soybean plants are dropping leaves, with Minnesota reporting 48% and I will 40% with plants turning color. Any rain after this weekend will not benefit the crop.

Midwest producers are in early matured corn, reporting disappointing yields in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Eastern Kansas due to small seed size and low-test weights. Illinois corn yields are being reported down 16-40 BPA from last year. Crop sizes are in fast retreat, with enumerators out this week to help report the extent in next week's Tuesday’s September WASDE report.

Ukraine reported another Russian strike on a Danube River port and in Kyiv, with one civilian fatality. Fires around the Ag and port facilities were reported at the Izmail port district. Romania’s President said that the drone attacks by Russia on Izmail were less than half a mile from Romania’s border with Ukraine.

Below-normal rainfall is maintained for the Midwest while seasonal temperatures arrive for the next two weeks. There is no evidence on any models for the return of near-normal rainfall before mid-September. A few widely scattered showers will make it into the North Central US and some Central Plains areas. Otherwise, the remainder of the US is in an arid flow. It will now go down as the driest and warmest growing season on record for that four-week window that ran from mid-August to mid-September. Corn and soybean seed size is impacted by the growing season's hot and arid end.

Live and feeder cattle ended lower yesterday but recovered from earlier session heavy losses. Trade is expected to hold off until later this week, with packers looking to acquire show lists lower, while feed yards will look to offset summer heat stress and sell cattle for no less than steady money. Box beef values on Tuesday had choice gaining $0.99 while select was down $0.75. Cattle futures rallies have failed to gather momentum in recent weeks as the market has been trending lower since the mid-July high. The tendency for cattle values to soften into late September/early October is underway, with short numbers keeping the decline checked.