Scorching heat forecast for struggling U.S. corn, soy

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 27, 2012 1:50 PM
Scorching heat forecast for struggling U.S. corn, soy

By Sam Nelson

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A heat wave, with highs that could top 100 degrees Fahrenheit, is forecast for the southern U.S. Midwest this week and next week, which should put more stress on corn and soybean crops, agricultural meteorologists predicted Wednesday.

"There's not much change in the midday forecast. Still above to much-above normal temperatures for the Midwest for next week," said Anthony Chipriano, meteorologist for MDA EarthSat Weather.

Scorching heat of up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit were reported Tuesday in the western Plains states and the heat wave was moving east.

"It was 115 yesterday in Hill City, Kansas, and McCook, Nebraska. It won't get that hot in the Midwest but the heat is moving in that direction," said Andy Karst, meteorologist for World Weather Inc.

"Temperatures will rise to the upper 90s to low 100s degrees Fahrenheit in eastern Kansas, southeast Nebraska, Missouri, southern Iowa, southern Illinois, Indiana and Ohio," he said.

There was the potential for showers in the northern Midwest late this week and again next week, and some minimal showers were possible in the driest areas of the Midwest as well.

But "definitely there will be more crop deterioration this week, there won't be enough rain to slow deterioration," the meteorologist warned.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Monday said 56 percent of the U.S. corn crop was in good-to-excellent condition, down 7 percentage points from the previous week.

Soybean conditions declined as well and crop experts expect further deterioration this week due to the extreme dryness in roughly the southern half of the Midwest. The incoming heat wave will likely add to crop deterioration.

Commodity Weather Group (CWG) on Wednesday said it was possible that another surge of heat next week could push temperatures to the mid-90s to low-100s in the southwestern part of the Midwest.

"The concern is that much of the southwest half of the Midwest (corn) will be pollinating under adverse conditions over the next two weeks," CWG stated. "The area most likely to suffer yield reductions will be in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, southern Nebraska, southeastern Iowa and Kansas."

USDA on Monday said 10 percent of the domestic corn crop was silking or pollinating.

The harsh weather has led to soaring corn and soybean futures prices.

Chicago Board of Trade new-crop December corn futures are at a nine-month high after rising more than a dollar a bushel, or nearly 20 percent, this week to peak at $6.56-3/4 per bushel on Wednesday.

(Reporting By Sam Nelson; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)