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Hot, dry conditions drive crop ratings decline

Agriculture.com Staff 07/16/2007 @ 2:42pm

On a day that saw corn and soybean futures settle sharply down largely because of a wet forecast for this week in the Corn Belt, USDA-NASS pegged corn and soybean conditions slightly down in its weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.

The report showed the effects of lingering dry, hot conditions through much of the Corn Belt. Overall corn ratings were 64% good to excellent compared to 70% a week ago. Corn rated in fair condition declined from 24% to 21% in the same period. Despite the slide, corn conditions are still two percentage points above where they were a year ago, according to Monday's report.

Corn pollination raced ahead of the typical pace last week, especially in the Corn Belt. Overall, 56% of the U.S. corn crop has silked, versus the previous five-year average of 36% for this week. The most noticeable advancements in pollination came in Iowa, Indiana and Ohio: Each state saw around a 30% jump in silking from last week. Illinois pollination is furthest along in the Midwest at 88%, 20% above last week and 28% ahead of the previous five-year average.

Soybeans in good-to-excellent shape dipped three percent, tallying 62% this week compared to 65% a week ago but still ahead of a year ago, when 57% of the crop was in good to excellent condition.

Monday's Crop Progress report for the first time this year pegged soybean pod-setting, which unlike corn pollination, is closer to the average pace. As of Sunday, 14% of the nation's soybean crop was setting pods compared to the previous five-year average of 11% but identical to last year's progress as of this week.

On a day that saw corn and soybean futures settle sharply down largely because of a wet forecast for this week in the Corn Belt, USDA-NASS pegged corn and soybean conditions slightly down in its weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.

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