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Corn still way behind -- USDA

Jeff Caldwell 08/19/2013 @ 4:03pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Corn denting is way behind normal, and that's got some analysts starting to see more potential for lower yields once the combines start to roll this fall.

Monday's weekly USDA-NASS Crop Progress report shows only 11% of the nation's corn crop has reached dent stage, a 6% climb in the last week but still 19% off the normal pace and a whopping 46% down from last year's breakneck crop progress pace. Dent's at just 2% in Iowa, 14% in Illinois, and 6% in Indiana, with the first and last of the three states not having registered any denting progress a week ago. Usually, those three states are at 28%, 41% and 26% dented, respectively.

"This shows how far the corn crop is behind normal. The crop is behind in Illinois, where just 14% is dented (vs. 41% five-year average). Iowa is at 2% compared to 28%. This could impact not only test weight but also yield," says market analyst Al Kluis with Kluis Commodities.

And, though the crop remains in good condition, having just declined slightly in the last week, nerves are starting to rattle based on deteriorating crop conditions in some critical spots, namely soil dryness, says Iowa agriculture secretary Bill Northey.

The dry weather remains a concern as 65% of the topsoil and 59% of subsoil moisture is short or very short,” Northey says. "Crops need additional precipitation and warm weather as development remains well behind the five-year average."

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