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Heat chips away at corn ratings -- USDA

Jeff Caldwell 07/18/2011 @ 3:24pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

The heat wave wrapping around the Corn Belt is starting to chip away at the corn crop's quality, according to Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report.

As of Sunday, 66% of the crop is in good-to-excellent condition, down 3% from a week ago. Good-to-excellent soybeans slipped 2% to 64% this week, according to USDA's numbers.

Monday's report also shows the corn crop's still a ways off the normal pace for development; Usually, 47% of the crop is silking by this week, but as of Sunday, only 35% of the crop had reached that level. But, that's still a 21% jump in the last week. And, many farmers report their corn acres are, as of right now, are looking better than their beans.

"I don't know if everyone put an extra 50 pounds of N on and jumped their planting populations or what. Oh, there might be a small draw of yellow corn or a stressed knob, but there's less of that than a average year," says Agriculture.com Marketing Talk member BA Deere, who adds the corn in his part of north-central Iowa l"really, really looks good." "Beans don't look as good; it has been probably too wet, yet not terrible by any stretch."

That may not be an isolated incident, either. Marketing Talk member Blacksandfarmer says in his part of Indiana, the corn looks better than the soybeans, but with the hot, dry weather the crops are facing this week in the entire region, that may not continue to be the case for long.

"I have noticed corn in this area looking better than the beans as well. Seems a lot of guys here in the ECB spent every last minute that wasn't raining this spring planting corn and worried about their beans for later," Blacksandfarmer says. "We haven't had real timely rains as of late and the corn desperately needs a drink this week if it is to yield much of anything."

Looking ahead, the current hot conditions will "remain a big story" for the next few days, says Freese-Notis Weather, Inc., ag meteorologist Craig Solberg.

"If anything, conditions may get a little worse for portions of the Midwest, but they will get better by next week," Solberg says, adding temperatures will be about 6 to 10 degrees above normal for much of the Corn Belt through this week. "With so much corn popllinating in the Midwest, it seems this heat could not come at a worse time. However, significant relief from the heat is not far away."


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