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Corn, soybean conditions stable, USDA says

Jeff Caldwell 07/25/2010 @ 11:00pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Corn and soybean development remains slightly ahead of the normal pace, though both crops saw no change in condition, according to Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report.

Seventy-two percent of the nation's corn crop and 67% of teh soybean crop is in good to excellent shape,on par with last week's conditions. Both crops saw solid progress gains in the last week to remain just ahead of the normal developmental pace for this time of the year, USDA numbers show Monday.

Those conditions have been propelled by Corn Belt weather that's been mostly dominated by heat and moisture over the last week; that trend was exemplified over the weekend in areas like Dubuque, Iowa, and Rockford, Illinois, where 8 to 10 inches of rain fell over the last 5 days, according to Freese-Notis Weather, Inc. The heat will likely remain in place over the next week, but the moisture won't be as widespread.

"Much of this work-week period is not looking too wet either. The biggest rain threat in that period will be coming for Tuesday night and into Wednesday when a cool front pushes into the region," according to Freese-Notis on Monday. "Strong storms with that front may produce some locally heavy rains in northern parts of the region, but anything close to what we had last week is not in the cards."

That's good for some farmers, but not for others. Agriculture.com Marketing Talk member kinsman1909250 says the corn in his area along Interstate 80 in Illinois is starting to hurt, mainly because of the heat. But, the early accelerated crop progress is starting to come back to bite some farmers there, too.

"I'm not saying that the crop is doomed but the reproductive stage is here now. Last year, it was so late and there were no temps in the 90s to contend with," he says in a recent forum. "This years corn was tasseling fourth of July! Where is the maturity of the crop now? Way ahead of last year and a lot hotter and drier this year."

But, in pockets where there's not a moisture shortage like the one kinsman1909250 has experienced, other farmers say the year's shaping up to be a good one at this point. "Not all of Illinois is losing bushels," writes Marketing Talk member gsjrzwil of his area in southeastern Illinois. "We are headed for our best crops ever."

Other farmers say while they haven't faced extreme weather conditions one way or another, some signs are popping up that it may not be a record crop year. Some report smaller corn kernel size despite average ear length and size. "I think it's tough to get kernel size with this much heat," says Marketing Talk member Rich in Mo. "We need cooler temps and slower fill. Plus, corn short on nitrogen doesn't make big kernels either."

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