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Crops stress after 'highly variable' rain

Jeff Caldwell 06/11/2012 @ 1:48pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, almost all of Iowa, Illinois and Missouri is abnormally dry, with patches of drought reaching the moderate to severe phase in parts of the southern Corn Belt and Plains despite a line of rainfall slipping through the region Sunday night and into Monday.

Any relief from that line of storms -- which brought anywhere between a few tenths of an inch to 2 1/2 inches to parts of Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa and points eastward -- wasn't enough to make much of a dent in the crop stress building in the nation's midsection.

"2.25 inches last night. We needed it bad," says Emerson, Iowa, farmer Brady Smith.

Adds Agriculture.com Marketing Talk senior contributor Hobbyfarmer: "My corn is small and all 2 sizes in the same fields. This should help give it a kick at the right time. The beans will explode with this moisture event."

Because of the "highly variable" nature of the overnight rainfall, the corn and soybean crops in some areas are worse off than in others; in areas where as much as an inch or more of rain fell, farmers expect crop ratings to be stable from a week ago when USDA releases its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

In a daily report to customers Monday morning, Rich Feltes, RJ O'Brien vice president for research, said those areas that got less rain will likely go the other direction.

"Crop stress was high over the weekend, with temps around 90 and windy," according to Monday's report from Feltes focusing on Iowa crop conditions. "Thin and spotty stands. I think crop conditions decline. Those that got a decent rain will stabilize. Those that didn't will continue to decline."

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