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Crop declines counter USDA logic, says forecaster

The USDA claims unchanged national corn ratings this past week, though you can make a case that there is not a lot of logic in that. After all, we saw significant deterioration in ratings given to major producing states such as Iowa, Illinois Indiana, Missouri, and Nebraska; that deterioration in those states should have logically meant a fall in national ratings, as improved ratings for states such as Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin should not have been enough to outweigh the deterioration seen elsewhere.

Regardless, the rating this week of 62 percent good to excellent is nine percentage points worse than a year ago (on a crop that did not yield that well in the end) and is also rated worse than the crops of 2008 and 2009 for this time, but is still rated better than the crops of 2005 through 2007 as of the end of July.

 National soybean ratings this week were down two percentage points in the good/excellent category, which makes sense given deterioration noted in major producing states such as Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. The national rating of 60 percent good/excellent is down from 66 percent a year ago and is below the ratings from late July of 2008 and 2009, but is still rated better than the crops of 2005 through 2007 for that same period.

What crop ratings do for next week's report all depends on what rain amounts and rain coverage are like for the rest of this week. Certainly the crops were under some stress early this week, as 90s for highs yesterday across the region (with 100s in the southwest) will be repeated again today. Stress from heat will continue to be seen in the south for the rest of the week with 90s for highs continuing, but it will be cooler to the north.

There are rain chances today in northeastern areas, and rain chances for much of the region later this week. It will likely be a situation where there will be significant parts of the Midwest that see big rains, but also significant areas that do not do all that well. Near- normal temperatures should be seen across all of the Corn Belt next week, with some rain chances during that period continuing as well.

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