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Crop, herd stress continues to mount

Jeff Caldwell 07/22/2011 @ 9:19am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Though temperatures have finally slipped back into the double digits in much of the Corn Belt, it's still hot and dry. Farmers are starting to take stock of the damage their crops and livestock have incurred over the last couple of weeks and their prospects moving forward.

Farmers in the Corn Belt's bookend areas are reporting the most dire conditions. Reports from eastern Kansas and Michigan, for example, show that while the central Corn Belt region may be in better shape, it's not like that all over.

"It's tough to say what corn yield will be like around here just yet. A nice rain could change things quickly but we are running out of time. If we don't get a rain very soon there wont be much to harvest," says Agriculture.com Marketing Talk member Blacksandfarmer, who farms in southern Michigan. "Corn is starting to stay curled during the night which is usually the beginning of the end."

The ramifications of the hot snap could last well beyond just the crops in the ground in parts of the nation's midsection. Eastern Kansas farmer and Marketing Talk member puffster says though his corn and soybean crops are hurting now, his outlook for next year's wheat acres -- as well as his cattle herd -- isn't the greatest right now.

"Grass is disappearing more each day. Most double-stock cattle are leaving early, with the protein dropping and feed value leaving the pastures quickly. We are starting to ship next week. Our pastures should be empty in a couple of weeks. Beans are looking stressed to the max now," puffster says. "Corn is shot. Corn is too cheap. Wheat acres will be a challenge to be planted with no moisture at all."

Looking ahead, there may be relief from the heat and dryness over the next few days, but the mercury will crank back up in the longer-term outlook, according to the Commodity Weather Group (CWG) ag outlook on Friday.

"Heat eases early next week, but a surge from Thursday through Saturday will again push southern and eastern areas into the mid 90s to near 100 (lows mid 70s to low 80s)," according to CWG on Friday. "Rain potential does improve after that heat event for central and southwestern areas, but hotter/drier conditions could return just beyond the 11 to 15 day once again."


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