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USDA: Corn, soybean conditions hover around average

Jeff Caldwell 07/19/2010 @ 11:00pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Corn conditions dipped slightly, though the crop's progress remained well ahead of the normal schedule in the last week, according to Monday's USDA Crop Progress report.

In general, 72% of the crop is in good to excellent condition, down just 1% from the previous week. Development's still rolling right along; the crop made an almost 30% jump in silking progress (from 38% to 65%) in the last week. That's 18% ahead of the previous 5-year average.

Soybean conditions improved over the last week. As of Sunday, 77% of the crop was in good to excellent shape, while 60% of the nation's beans are blooming and 18% are setting pods, both a few percentage points ahead of the normal pace.

Weather extremes continue to taunt farmers in the Corn Belt, where though general crop conditions are okay, there are pockets where either too much or not enough moisture is wreaking havoc on fields. In parts of Iowa and Illinois over the weekend, rainfall amounts of up to 3 inches accompanied heavy winds that battered the corn crop. In the west-central part of Illinois, Agriculture.com Marketing Talk member david.metternich says the rain was still falling Monday morning after a soaked Sunday.

"Markets fell this morning. Why? Too much rain does not make grain!" he says in a recent forum. "I know other areas have great crops, but take a drive through our county and see what a mess."

But, there are dry spots...serious ones. Marketing Talk member BKsandFarmer says his area in the Michigan-Indiana-Ohio tri-state area has suffered through an extended period of unseasonably hot temperatures and little moisture.

"It's not a widespread drought, but a very unfortunate feeling to see rain skirt around you all summer, all while farms 20 minutes north or south of here have gotten plenty of rain," he says. "There's talk of rain tonight...if we don't get it now, our corn might make 80 or 90 bushels at best."

Look for a wet pattern to prevail over the Corn Belt over the next 2 days, when some areas could receive up to 4 inches of rainfall, according to the Freese-Notis Weather, Inc., Weather Market Commentary on Monday.

"Very heavy 2-4+ inch rains look possible for much of Iowa, southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, southern Michigan, northern Indiana, and northern Ohio; thus, we are certainly looking at the potential for another round of flooding problems in the region this week," according to Freese-Notis on Monday. "Thursday and Friday will be pretty hot days in the Midwest, but a cold front will take temperatures down a notch again for next weekend."

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