July 23, 2012 / 12:26 PM / 5 years ago

Midday updates indicate some relief for U.S. crops

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Midday weather updates still indicate some rains for corn and soybean crops in the northern U.S. Midwest this week and there is a better chance for crop-friendly weather in the extended outlooks, an agricultural meteorologist said on Monday.

“There will be some rains in the north early this week and the southwest should see some light rain late in the week, which would be the first significant rain since June,” said Andy Karst, meteorologist for World Weather Inc.

Meteorologists said the showers won’t be “drought busters” but “it will helps some crops that aren’t already dead,” Karst said.

Karst also said the midday weather updates indicate a better chance for showers and cooler weather in the Midwest in early August.

“It looks cooler and wetter in the Midwest August 4-7 and we’ve added some rain for the eastern Corn Belt for July 30 to August 1st,” he said.

Meteorologists expected rain early this week in the northern U.S. Midwest, with from 1 to 2 inches across a broad swath of corn and soybean land roughly north of Interstate 80.

“It’s good news and bad news today. The good is rain north of I-80 with widespread coverage and temperatures in the mid- to low 90s degrees Fahrenheit,” said John Dee of Global Weather Monitoring.

“The bad news is it will still be hot and dry south of I-80 and temperatures will reach the 100s F in most of Iowa, Missouri and Illinois with little or no rainfall,” he added.

A barrel of hay sits in front of a soybean crop near Paris, Missouri July 13, 2012. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Showers will come to the southern Midwest late in the week. “They will receive some rain on the order of 0.40 to 0.80 inch late in the week with good coverage. Missouri and western Iowa may get shorted though,” Dee said.

The most expansive drought in more than a half century has hurt the U.S. corn and soybean crops, leading to cuts in estimated production. The lack of rain was drying up waterways and beginning to slow river shipments of commodities to export ports on the Gulf of Mexico.

The rains come too late to help the early planted corn that already had pollinated during the height of the hot weather and dryness, but late-planted corn and a good chunk of the nation’s soybean crop will find relief this week.

Chicago Board of Trade corn and soybean futures fell Monday on outlooks for the better crop weather after reaching record highs late last week on scorching heat and a near relentless drought.

At 12:06 p.m. CDT (1706 GMT), CBOT spot September corn was down 18 cents at $8.06-1/2 per bushel after hitting a record high $8.28-3/4 on Friday. August soybeans were down 56-1/2 cents at $17.01 a bushel after reaching a record $17.77-3/4 late last week.

The U.S. government has been slashing its condition ratings for corn and soybeans each week, and will release an updated weekly crop rating and crop progress report later Monday.

Crop experts and analysts have been lowering production estimates for corn and soybeans almost hourly, leading up to what will be an important government monthly crop report on August 10.

The U.S. government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Thursday issued a forecast that showed no relief from the drought for at least the rest of this summer.

NOAA said in a report on Monday that, based on the Palmer Drought Index, 55 percent of the contiguous United States was under moderate to extreme drought in June, making it the largest land area in the United States to be affected by a drought since December 1956.

Reporting By Sam Nelson;editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid

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