Cool snap, drizzle help corn crop
Chicago, August 15, 2012
Light showers in nearly all of the US Midwest crop belt and cooler temperatures this week will help stabilise deterioration of corn and soybean plants that have already been severely harmed by the worst drought in more than a half century, an agricultural meteorologist said.
"It's not going to get a whole lot worse, some areas will get some help and others not," said Andy Karst, a meteorologist for World Weather.
Frequent rains of from 0.50 inch to 0.60 inch with up to 1.00 inch in some areas are expected Wednesday through Friday in 85 to 90 percent of the Midwest and cooler temperatures with highs in the 70s (degrees Fahrenheit) to 80s F are expected," Karst said.
"Weather shouldn't be terrible for crops but we're on the edge with a moisture deficit because we still haven't had soaking rains," he said. "It will be drier over the weekend and early next week with the next chance of rain at midweek, and that will be important," Karst said.
Commodity Weather Group (CWG) on Wednesday said light showers early in the week were too sparse to ease drought stress in the Midwest. "In fact, the portion of the Midwest under stress could still expand by up to 10 percent from the current 35 percent over the next week," CWG meteorologist Joel Widenor said.
Rains will increase over the next two weeks in the US Delta, a lush crop region in the lower Mississippi River basin, which will ease some late season drought-stress on soybeans, according to CWG.
The US Department of Agriculture's weekly crop progress report released on Monday showed the US corn conditions stabilising after nine weeks of ratings declines and the soybean crop conditions increased slightly.
However, the ratings for each crop remained at their lowest levels since the last serious drought in 1988.
As the worst drought in more than a half century takes its toll, investors have gone on a buying spree, boosting corn prices more than 50 percent from late May to record highs above $8 per bushel.
The USDA on Friday released data showing deep cuts for this year's corn and soybean output as the drought spread through America's breadbasket.
The USDA said the 2012 corn crop would fall below 11.0 billion bushels for the first time in six years and the number of bushels yielded per acre was at a 17-year low. Soybean production was forecast at a five-year low and soy yield per acre nearly a 10-year low.
Analysts and crop experts said additional cuts may be seen in future reports. - Reuters