Hurricane Isaac caused "intensive damage" to some southern US farms, and oppressive heat in the north, but proved just what some Corn Belt farmers wanted, bringing much-needed moisture.
The US Department of Agriculture said that, overall, crop
condition showed little change in the week to Sunday, with the corn crop steady
at 22% in "good" or "excellent" health, stuck at its worst readings since 1988
after summer drought.
The soybean "good" or "excellent" reading stayed at 30%,
also the worst figure for early September of year since 1988, with that for cotton
easing one point to 42%.
However, the stable headline readings disguised some
significant changes in individual states as Isaac headed north after touching
land in Louisiana, and leaving a trail of destruction estimated at potentially
more than $2bn.
In Louisiana itself, "some parts received intensive damage to
field crops and pastures due to high water and heavy winds," USDA officials
"Most crops were affected from the storm, especially
soybeans and sugarcane where lodging occurred due to persistent winds."
|Major corn condition changes (% good or excellent), week to Sept 2|
Pennsylvania: 63%, +5 points
South Dakota: 20%, +3 points
North Dakota: 47%, -5 points
North Carolina: 57%, -8 points
The proportion of the state's cotton seen good or excellent
dropped by nine points, to 72%, with, elsewhere in the south east, the Georgia
crop tumbling 12 points to 54% placed in the top two ratings.
However, Isaac proved a boon to some more northerly farmers,
after it's the strength of its winds and rains moderated.
In Illinois, the second-ranked soybean producing state, USDA
officials lifted by seven points to 18% the proportion of the oilseed seen in
good or excellent health.
|Major soybean condition changes (% good or excellent), week to Sept 2|
Illinois: 18%, +7 points
Lousiana: 70%, -3 points
Wisconsin: 40%, -4 points
North Carolina: 69%, -7 points
North Dakota: 47%, -8 points
"The remnants of Hurricane Isaac brought significant
precipitation to the state," they said, noting that topsoil moisture levels were
now at their best since mid-May.
"With the increased precipitation levels, soybean conditions
improved a bit."
Some improvement was also seen in crops on some other
important producing states, such as Kansas and Ohio, too.
'Fall tillage put on
But the benefit was further offset by the high temperatures
that Isaac caused in states beyond its path by raising air pressure, and taking
temperatures back above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in some northern areas.
In Wisconsin, the condition of the soybean crop dropped four
points to 40% good or excellent, with that in North Dakota tumbling eight
points to 45%.
"Hot, arid conditions continued throughout the state last
week," USDA staff in North Dakota said, noting that the dearth of moisture was
spreading into autumn planting plans too.
"Fall tillage will be put on hold in some areas until
moisture is received," a contrast with many others states, where Isaac has
improved moisture in seed beds.
* Separately, exchange operator Ice Futures said that 2,000 bags of certified stocks of arabica coffee, stored in New Orleans for delivery against its futures contracts, had sustained water damage from Hurricane Isaac.