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Heat fires up; markets dial in

Jeff Caldwell 06/18/2012 @ 2:51pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

One crop consultant said Monday his area got more than 3 inches of rain on Friday...and sprayers were rolling in that area Monday. It's a sure sign that rains that fell over the weekend in some of the parched parts of the Corn Belt were welcomed but not quite enough to put much of a dent in the stress the corn and soybean crops are feeling from the spring of unseasonably hot, dry weather.

In the meantime, while the "have-nots" are worrying about the resumption of drought stress, the "haves" are hoping the rain subsides in what's been a growing season of extremes in the Corn Belt...and according to the calendar, summer's yet to even begin.

Reports of a few tenths of an inch to in excess of 3 inches fell in points around the Corn Belt over the weekend. The rains were widely variable, leaving some

"Looks to be 4/10 of an inch out of this one. Add that to the 2/10 last night and the 1.4 the first of the week and now I get a call from Northwest Kansas and find out the quarter with some crop in dry dirt got enough rain to get the moisture to meet and the rest of the crop is germinating and should be up shortly," Agriculture.com Marketing Talk senior contributor Hobbyfarmer said Saturday. "Pretty good pre-Father's Day present."

Adds Marketing Talk advisor Nebrfarmr: "Glad someone is getting the rain, if you have extra, send it our way. We had a 95% chance of measurable rain, and a 80% chance of rain over 3/4 inch over the weekend. Wound up with .005 or so. You could see each individual drop & where it hit the dust."

Marketing Talk senior contributor Blacksandfarmer farms in southern Michigan, where some of the region's most severe drought stress has withered the corn and soybean crops. The weekend brought brief reprieve to his farm. "We finally got a nice 3/10 this morning," he said Sunday morning. "That brings our June total to a half inch. Today's rain wasn't enough to get us far but should be enough to get us through the next couple very hot days."

He's not the only one concerned about the increasing heat. The weekend rainfall helped many farmers whose crops needed a drink, but the amount that fell wasn't enough to do much more than knock back drought stress by a couple of days, says Kyle Tapley, senior ag meteorologist for MDA EarthSat Weather/CropCAST.

"Although we certainly saw some improvement over the weekend in southern and western Iowa, eastern Missouri, and north central Illinois, dryness is still a significant concern across western Nebraska, northeastern Iowa, Missouri, southwestern Wisconsin, southern and eastern Illinois, Indiana, and southern Michigan" Tapley says. "Rains this week should continue to improve conditions for corn and soybeans across the northwestern Midwest, but dryness will increase again in central and southern areas where only a few light showers are expected. High temperatures are expected to reach the mid to upper 90s across the central and southern Midwest through Wednesday, adding stress to crop."

The markets are also watching the return to heat and potential drought. Monday's trade saw double-digit gains in corn, soybean and wheat pits as traders watched the grains decouple themselves from typical outside factors (crude oil, equities and the U.S. Dollar index) to trade almost exclusively behind the weather.


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