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Heat, dryness slam crop conditions -- USDA

Jeff Caldwell 07/02/2012 @ 3:20pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

The nation's corn and soybean crops have taken a beating in the last week, according to Monday's USDA Crop Progress report.

The amount of that crop in good to excellent conditions went from 58% to 48% in the last week, Monday's report shows. All that slide was taken up by the very poor and poor condition categories, with 7% of the crop in the former and 15% in the latter, USDA said Monday.

Soybean conditions didn't fare much better; in fact, that crop saw an 8% drop in the good & excellent categories over the previous week, too. As of Sunday, 45% of the crop's in those top 2 categories versus 53% last week.

The grain trade has USDA's data square in its crosshairs, and the rest of this holiday-shortened week will likely continue to move higher on account of the crop progress numbers that fell more than many in the trade expected, according to Scott Shellady, Agriculture.com Marketing Talk veteran contributor and grain options and futures trader in Chicago.

"Crop progress will be a HUGE influence on the rest of the week. I know the declines are pegged at 3% to 5%, but I think it could be 10%," Shellady said Monday morning. "These last few weeks in 1988 were very big in so far as shaping the market up for a rally."

Farmers say they're starting to find crop conditions that are deteriorating beyond repair this summer, even if the weather trend reverses and turns cooler and wetter later this month. Even with some forecasters speculating that rainfall chances could be greater in the second half of July, even if that shift reaches fruition, it may be too late, says Marketing Talk veteran contributor Buckley_HF.

"Looks like our record planting pace that was suppose to set us up for 166 [bushels/acre] could end up biting us in the end," he says. "Majority of corn will be done by this so-called turn in the weather."

Adds Marketing Talk veteran contributor DW11: "Out my back window in southeastern South Dakota, I'm seeing a crop with great potential heading for a cliff without any rain in sight and 95-98 degree temps. It's going to get ugly here soon based upon the forecasts and the deterioration I am seeing in the fields with each passing day."

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