Drought Continues To Spread Throughout Midwest

A National Weather Service forecast issued Friday shows that much of the Corn Belt from eastern Nebraska through Iowa and into Illinois, Indiana and Ohio will be under abnormally dry or drought conditions through the end of September. According to the Des Moines Register, a fresh wave of worry about drought pushed corn and soybean prices to double-digit gains Friday on the Chicago Board of Trade before profit-taking caused corn to settle for a 4 cents per bushel gain to $5.54. Soybeans gained 4 cents per bushel to $13.75.

In Iowa, only the eastern third of the state is likely to receive adequate moisture, according to the weather service. Central and western Iowa will labor under abnormally dry or drought conditions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s forecast for the corn yield this year remains at 166 bushels per acre, but some private forecasters have issued predictions of a national yield below 160 bushels per acre.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Board of Trade said in commentary that rain forecasts for the next six to 10 days show only sporadic rain, adding the market sees a crop that is sliding.

The U.S. last year averaged 148 bushels per acre (172 bushels in Iowa) in a year when the weather problem was too much moisture, especially along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

The projected drought cuts across the heart of the Corn Belt from Iowa to Ohio. The quartet of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio last year produced 5.65 billion bushels of corn, or 46% of the 12.4 billion bushel U.S. total.

The soybean production from those four states totaled 1.45 billion bushels, or 44% of the 3.06 billion bushel 2011 soybean crop nationwide.

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