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USDA: Corn, soybeans improve slightly on better weather

Agriculture.com Staff 07/07/2008 @ 2:18pm

Analysts in Chicago said the market anticipated a one- to three-percent rise in the amount of corn and soybeans in the country in good-to-excellent shape in the last week, and on Monday, that's just what they got.

Monday's USDA Crop Progress report shows a one-percent bump in the amount of both corn and beans in good-to-excellent condition, at 62% and 59%, respectively.

On a day that saw a "sea change" reversal with CBOT corn and soybeans touching limit-down, USDA numbers show corn and bean conditions are still behind where they were a year ago, but they're slowly improving due in large part to warmer, drier weather, a departure from a cool, wet spring that slowed early development. And the market is certainly taking notice, says Cargill Senior Grain Merchandiser in Eddyville, Iowa, Ray Jenkins.

"The combination of heat and available moisture has allowed the crop be begin progressing rapidly, and now the group-think of the market is 'it's a greenhouse out there,' Jenkins said Monday. "It appears the market was caught leaning to one side of the boat a bit heavily going into the holiday weekend, and it didn't take much of a change in weather to make that seem like a 'way wrong' position, as evidenced by the limit move, and then some, selloff."

Monday also saw the release of an evaluation of the crop by ag weather analysts Cropcast Weather Services. According to a Dow Jones Newswires report, Cropcast officials say five percent of Corn Belt crop acres were affected by June flooding.

"While the flooding was extensive, our analysis would project an additional 100,000 acres of corn and 150,000 acres of soybeans will be able to be harvested as of today, compared to the recent USDA projection," says Joel Widenor, manager of Agricultural Weather Services at MDA EarthSat, in the Dow Jones Newswires report. He adds that these numbers are based on data that suggests 70% of those acres hit by flooding would not be replanted.

Still, there's a lot of variability out there, and regardless of what the numbers say now, it's likely that a clear picture won't be seen until bushels start rolling in from the fields.

"We even saw half a dozen bean drills and planters doing a variety of jobs from patching in wet holes to planting entire fields in recently dried river bottoms. Corn pollination is going to be a last-half-July event this year, even pushing into August many places for the last 25% of the corn crop," Jenkins says of a Fourth of July weekend trip through Iowa and Illinois. "I'm just not sure we'll ever feel comfortable with this crop until it's off the stalk and in the bin this fall."

"In north-central Indiana and northeast Indiana, took a drive yesterday to Napanee for a getaway day. Saw lots of crops from one end of the spectrum to the other. Even saw some corn rolled with irrigation pivots running," adds Agriculture Online Marketing Talk member bullrider685114. "Looks as though everybody had lots of rain at some point. And now the race is on to beat the frost."

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