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Heat, dryness drag corn conditions lower

Jeff Caldwell 05/29/2012 @ 4:00pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Dry, hot weather's causing a dip in corn conditions, with 5% fewer acres in good-to-excellent shape compared to just over a week ago, according to Tuesday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report.

72% of the crop's in those top 2 quality ratings compared to 77% a week ago. And, despite a few weekend showers around the Corn Belt and a wetter, cooler week forecast ahead, farmers still have a lot of worries about both the short- and long-term effects of this largely dry, hot spring.

"I think the bloom is off the rose in east-central Iowa," says Agriculture.com Marketing Talk advisor Jim Meade / Iowa City. "We have had adequate subsoil moisture, although I don't know today if it is still OK, but it is dry on top and some germination issues ahve arisen as has been reported elsewhere. Not a lot, but a few bushels/acre."

Adds weedman, a Marketing Talk contributor in western Iowa: "Getting really dry in southwest and west-central Iowa. No rain out of any of the systems so far. Crops are okay except the ones in dry dirt planted the last couple of weeks."

Those crops planted in the driest conditions aren't just in danger of the dryness removing yield potential; Experts say applying herbicide in dusty conditions like a lot of farmers in the Plains and Corn Belt have faced this spring increase the chances of postemergence herbicides losing efficacy.

Looking ahead, crop conditions could see a boost from cooling temperatures and a forecast that includes more consistent, widespread rainfall chances, says Craig Solberg, ag meteorologist with Freese-Notis Weather, Inc.

"Many locations in the Midwest still badly need rain. A new system late this evening will bring rain back into the west Wednesday night into Thursday, and on eastward into Friday," he said Tuesday. "Good coverage of 0.50-1.00" rainfall is forecast over most of the Midwest with this system, with some 1.00-2.00" amounts in the southwest. The cooler temps will last into the first part of the weekend in most areas, with warmer readings returning to the far west Saturday night then spreading eastward into early next week."

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