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Best rain week in months, but was it a drought breaker?

Agriculture.com Staff 06/22/2006 @ 11:48am

This week brought the best rain coverage across many western Corn Belt areas in months, with KS, NE, MN, OK, SD, TX, ARK, and LA all receiving normal to above normal rainfall of 1" or more that will greatly aid growing crops as it reaches into the rapid vegetative growth period. This is a fairly high moisture demand period, so its important that adequate moisture be available to growing plants. Temps this week were about normal, so these cropping areas should see some slight yield potential improvements for the week. However, most other Corn Belt locations so far have not received their normal weekly rainfall of about 1", so that unless significant rain falls over the weekend they may see declining yield potential for the week. The next 3 days are forecast to be relatively wet across KS, CO, MO, KY, and southern ILL/IN/OH, but thereafter another dry period is forecast to begin across the Corn Belt. The jet stream in today's forecast moves even further north into Canada in about 3 days, effectively cutting off precip to almost the entire US growing region for the next 2 weeks. So for this week at least, there likely won't be significant yield losses across the US in corn/soybeans (HRS should see significant declines due to little/no precip). But if current forecasts are correct, next week its likely we'll be back into rapidly declining crop conditions of all major crops. If that occurs, it will be another bull run higher next week in commodities (can we run to new corn/bean/wheat highs???).

Currently, parched areas of the US include the Delta, Southeast, HRW wheat country (TX, OK, KS), and southern IA, CO, NE, Dakotas, northern ILL, and most of MO which had been causing crops to rapidly deteriorate nationally. KS, OK, and TX continued through yesterday to have 100-degree temp readings almost daily (and have for most of the past few months), which is greatly stressing crops there. Heat also continues across most of the northwestern US including HRS wheat country. Although the heat is continually forecast to abate, every day seems warmer than forecast and the forecast cooling in temps seems to be put off "a few more days" in almost every forecast. This is what a building drought looks like, and Pro Ag fears that when reproductive stages of crops begin, we will finally realize that 2006 crops will not be up to par.

Pro Ag notes that the past 2 weeks all US spring planted crops have gone backwards fairly rapidly, a trend that cannot be ignored as in spite of the CBOT calls of improving crops and high yield potential, the fact remains that 2006 spring planted crops the last few weeks have lost all the benefit of early planting in ideal soil moisture due to the growing drought. Currently, all US spring planted crops have below normal yield potential, and it's still dropping fast! We are concerned that 2006 US crops are being threatened with a drought along the lines of 1988 if current weather trends continue just another 1-2 months. With the recent break we have erased all of the gains since the small corn acreage was announced on March 30. We fear that forecast large acreage increases in corn/wheat since then may be overblown, and all advantages of additional acreage planted can be quickly eliminated with 4-8 more weeks of the current weather pattern (hot and dry).

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