Rains are on their way to resolve dryness which sent the
condition of the US corn crop to its lowest of the season so far, depressed in
some areas too by cool conditions up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit below normal.
Latest weather forecasts "are a little wetter from North
Dakota to Wisconsin for the first week [of the outlook] while the second week
has more rain for the eastern Midwest", Paul Georgy, president at Chicago
broker Allendale, said.
Weather service MDA forecast that in the south west Midwest,
one area where dryness has raised concerns, rains "this week will finally begin
to replenish moisture for soybeans and late corn growth".
Rainfall will also "improve conditions in the north eastern and
southern [Mississippi] Delta" region, although "some limited dryness will
likely continue in the east central Midwest", including parts of Indiana and
At Martell Crop Projections, Gail Martell said that "the
forecast calls for at least 1.5 inches of rainfall in a wide swathe of the
Midwest, but 2-4 inches locally affecting Iowa, central Nebraska, South Dakota,
eastern Kansas and Missouri".
'Unusually cool temperatures'
The hopes for rains helped ease concerns over further deterioration
in US corn crop, which was rated overnight by the US Department of Agriculture
as being 73% in good or excellent condition, down 2 points week on week and the
worst rating of the year – if still a strong one historically.
The decline was particularly marked in Kentucky where,
thanks to "unusually cool temperatures and dry conditions", the proportion of
corn seen as good or excellent fell by four points to 62%, down 20 points in
four weeks, with soybeans also suffering, recording a drop of 5 points to 61%
in the rating.
"Normally once of the warmest times of the year, each day [last]
week saw below normal temperatures," USDA scouts said, noting temperatures
falling below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, 20 degrees below normal.
In neighbouring Tennessee, the proportion of soybeans viewed
as good or excellent dropped 4 points to 75%, again with cool conditions cited
as challenging crops.
A dearth of rain caused some deterioration in more major
producing states too, such as top producer Iowa, where the proportion of corn
rated good or excellent eased 1 point to 77% amid "unseasonably cool and mostly
The soybean crop remained stable at 74% good or excellent.
However, in neighbouring Illinois both corn and soybeans saw
mild deteriorations as "dry conditions continued throughout the state", with rainfall
averaging 0.28 inches last week, 35% of typical levels for the time of year.
In Nebraska, another top-5 corn and soybean producing state,
"another week of only scattered rainfall stressed dryland crops and pastures", causing
deterioration in both crops, scouts said.
In Kansas "where the rains missed, row crops were stressed",
again causing rating declines for both corn and soybeans.
Gail Martell said that US "corn and soybeans have succumbed
to moisture stress in early August needing a soaking rain for improvement".
'Should see this as a
Nonetheless, with soybean crops improving in states
including Ohio and Minnesota, where "warm and dry weather conditions helped
advance crop development", the national crop rating remained stable at 71% good
or excellent, the best in 20 years, narrowly ahead of the 2004 figure.
Indeed, with crop concerns localised, the data were seen as
negative for prices, which indeed declined on Tuesday in Chicago, where
November soybeans stood at $10.66 ¾ a bushel at 06:40 local time (12:40 UK
time), down 1.2%, while December corn eased 0.7% to $3.66 ¾ a bushel.
At Citigroup, Sterling Smith said: "Soybean crop conditions
came in as unchanged from last week and the market should see this as a
At RJ O'Brien, Richard Feltes said that "ratings updates,
taken collectively, are bearish as corn did not decline as much as some had
feared, while soybeans held steady".
It appeared that "cool temperatures played a major role in
offsetting dry July" weather.
'Simply needs more
Cotton futures for December, however, nudged 0.3% higher to
64.45 cents a pound in New York, helped by a decline in the condition of the US
crop, by 1 point to 53% good or excellent, a typical rating for this time of
Although the crop in Oklahoma improved markedly, as "rain
events over the past few weeks helped row crop development," that in Texas, the
top cotton producing state, declined 1 point to 38% good or excellent.
"Cooler temperatures slowed [cotton] development in the
Northern High Plains," USDA scouts in Texas said.
In Tennessee, the cool conditions also hampered a crop which
thrives on drier and warmer conditions than corn or soybeans, with one scout
noting that cotton "simply needs more heat units for normal growth".