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Dry weather pushes crop ratings lower

Jeff Caldwell 08/29/2011 @ 3:26pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

If Monday's USDA Crop Progress report is any indication, this summer can't end soon enough for the U.S. corn and soybean crops.

Monday's numbers show another week of declining conditions for both crops; corn rated good-to-excellent fell 3% to 54% and soybeans in that category slipped 2% to 57%.

And, Monday's grain trade was watching: Nearby soybeans jumped 23 1/4 cents on news of continued crop-stressing dryness.

"The beans sure need some rain, and we have not been getting it," says Agriculture.com Marketing Talk senior contributor Jim Meade / Iowa City. "It might be too late for the corn, but I'd be willing to take some rain anyway."

Marketing Talk member Nebrfarmr says though he's seeing a lot of tipback on the corn ears he's pulled from his fields lately, the sweltering temperatures in his area are finally easing a bit, and that should help his crop as harvest nears. "The cooler weather lately has added girth to the ear, but the tip-back is way too common," he says.

That's the silver lining to the cloud of a rainless forecast in the near term. Temperatures in the Midwest look to be slipping later this week and into next week, according to Freese-Notis Weather, Inc., meteorologist Craig Solberg. That will be a welcome change in a summer that's broken a lot of temperature records.

"The far northwestern Midwest will be much cooler on Friday, and all of the Midwest will be cooler Saturday and will stay cool into next week. On Labor Day itself, a lot of the northern Midwest may see highs just in the 60s," Solberg says. "Unfortunately these changing temperatures do not mean any change to what has been an exceptionally dry month of August for the heart of the Midwest, with several of the major reporting stations that I track having recorded under 20% of normal rainfall since August 1."


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