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2012 Drought Continues to Take its Toll

2012 Drought Continues to Take its Toll
Latest crop condition report shows further decline in corn crop as heat and dry weather pound away on yields.

For those of you old enough to remember a skipping record, we're still stuck in that same part of the corn condition tune, the part that keeps saying "decline." The latest USDA Crop Progress report shows further decline in the condition of the 2012 corn crop dropping the rating to 26% good to excellent from 31% last week. That compares to 62% good to excellent a year ago.

SLIPPING AWAY: As chances for a rain rescue evaporate for corn, there are signs the soybean crop is leveling some. Will predicted rains fill more pods?

Indiana and Illinois remain the epicenter of the 2012 Drought. Each state reports only 7% of its corn in good to excellent condition - and for Illinois none is reported as "excellent." In Indiana, 71% of the crop is now rated as poor to very poor, with Illinois right behind with 66% of the corn listed at the same rating. Minnesota retains its "garden spot" rating with 61% of its corn rated good to excellent, but that still represents a decline from 67% good to excellent last week.

The report notes that 86% of the U.S. corn crop is now silking, well ahead of the 59% five-year average. And 22% of the corn is in dough stage versus a 9% average for this time of year. The report now lists 6% of the corn at dent versus 2% on average. While it may be a smaller corn crop, what is harvested will be in the bin faster too.

Soybeans: Soybean conditions slipped a bit in the latest report, falling to 31% good to excellent versus 34% last week. There have been some "relieving" rains across some of the Corn Belt - not enough to save corn, but it could be enough to bolster some bean yields. Missouri has seen its soybean crop continue to deteriorate with only 8% rated good to excellent. For Illinois that number hit 13% and for Indiana 12% hit the good to excellent level.

The report shows that 79% of soybeans a blooming, which is ahead of the five-year average of 60% by this time of the season. And 36% of the crop is setting pods - a critical time - versus the 19% average.

Wheat: The report shows that 82% of the winter wheat crop is now in the bin. As for spring wheat, 98% is now headed, which is faster than average and an early spring wheat harvest is under way with 12% of the crop combined. Spring wheat condition has slipped from 65% good to excellent to 60% good to excellent, showing how moisture stress is starting to take its toll on the crop. Last year at this time the crop was rated 74% good to excellent.

Cotton: The 2012 cotton crop is moving right along with 90% of the crop squaring and 47% of the crop setting bolls. Those numbers are just a head of the five-year average. Crop condition actually improved week-over-week rising to 47% good to excellent from 45% last week. While heat has been hitting the crop, some timely rains in key cotton regions are helping too.

Peanuts: About 78% of the 2012 crop is pegging, which is ahead of average. And the condition of the peanut crop is staying level versus last week. The eight states responsible for 98% of 2011 peanut production report 67% in good to excellent condition verus 68% last week.

Sorghum: Heat and drought are pushing the sorghum crop this year too. Condition fell to 26% good to excellent versus 30% last week, but but remains on par with conditions in 2011. About 41% of the sorghum crop has headed and 25% of the crop is coloring. And you guessed it, both of those figures are ahead of the five-year average.

Rice: The U.S. rice crop is holding onto its condition with 69% reported good to excellent versus 70% last week. And that's ahead last year's 63% ratings by this same period. 54% of the U.S. rice crop has headed according to the report.

Pasture & Range: The continued decline in pastures is pressuring livestock producers, many of whom have already started feeding hay, which is pressuring prices. The latest report shows range and pasture holding steady at 18% good to excellent versus last week; but that's well below the 44% good to excellent rating in 2011 for the same period. About 55% of the country's pasture and range crops are now listed as poor to very poor, a slight rise from last week.

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