USDA: Corn, soybeans stabilize despite drying conditions
Mother Nature's faucet has shut off in many parts of the Corn Belt, farmers say, but cooler temperatures have thus far prevented crop damage. Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report confirmed that, showing corn and soybean conditions haven't really changed in the last week.
Monday's report shows 71% of the corn crop is in good to excellent condition, unchanged from last week and 7% above a year ago. Conditions are seen best in the western Corn Belt, like in Nebraska, where 84% of the corn crop is rated in the highest two quality tiers. The story is the same for soybeans: 84% of Nebraska's beans are in good to excellent condition, while the national average is 66% for those qualifications.
The story's tilted toward the other end of the scale, quality-wise, for other areas. Twenty-four percent of the Texas corn crop is in very poor condition, USDA said Monday, largely due to the state's drought conditions. In addition to poor row crop conditions, that state's cotton crop has begun to show signs of stress, and cattle feeders there are beginning the process of herd liquidation because of the high temperatures and dry conditions.
Drought stress has yet to hit these levels back in the Corn Belt, though a few more days without rain could make things tough in a hurry, some farmers say. For now, though, cooler-than-normal temperatures have moderated what could have been some early signs of drought.
"A huge area of eastern Nebraska, other than the counties bordering Iowa, has had virtually no rain since the middle of June. Only saving grace is the cooler temps," says Agriculture Online Marketing Talk member 64633. "Dryland corn is on the verge of heading south in a hurry without a nice rain soon, very soon."
It's similar elsewhere, like in southwestern Ohio, where another Marketing Talk member says the land is starting to look parched. A recent rain there wasn't enough to get a creek near SouthWestOhio's farm running again, "a good sign we are running low on subsoil moisture," he says.
Looking ahead, the temperatures will likely scrape the high end of average for the next couple of days, then settle back into a cooler-than-normal range, according to Freese-Notis Weather, Inc.'s Weather Market commentary on Monday. That will continue to temper the effects of what will likely be a period of a week or so that will see limited precipitation in much of the Corn Belt after Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
"There will likely not be much (if any) rain for Thursday/Friday, then some rain over the weekend for southwestern parts of the Midwest," according to Freese-Notis. "Tomorrow will be a hot day for southwestern parts of the Corn Belt (90s and 100s for southern Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri) and hot in far southern areas for Wednesday, but otherwise we are looking at some pretty cool conditions for Thursday through next Monday with a lot of the region not breaking the 80-degree mark for highs in that time frame."