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Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 8/9/12

U.S corn areas located in drought.

U.S corn areas located in drought. (Click to enlarge)

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The latest U.S. Drought Monitor, valid August 7, indicates that the percentage of corn and soybeans in drought remains relatively stable.  However, corn and soybeans in the most two serious drought categories (D3 to D4, or extreme to exceptional drought) continue to rise sharply.  Approximately 87% of the U.S. corn is within an area experiencing drought, down from a peak of 89% on July 24.  Similarly, 85% of the U.S. soybeans are in a drought area, down from a high of 88% on July 24.  During the three-week period ending August 7, corn in extreme to exceptional drought nearly quadrupled, from 14 to 53%, while soybeans in the two worst drought categories (D3 or D4) more than tripled from 16 to 50%.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of the nation’s hay acreage remains in drought, down three percentage points from the peak on July 17 and 24.  However, hay in extreme to exceptional drought has risen from 11 to 31% between July 17 and August 7.  Also, 72% of the domestic cattle inventory was located in an area experiencing drought on August 7, down one point from the peak value recorded on July 17 and 24.  Cattle in the two worst drought categories (D3 or D4) jumped from 15 to 37% during the three-week period ending August 7.

Due to the record-setting pace of corn development (the U.S. crop was 26% dented and 6% mature by August 5), any late-summer rainfall will do little to improve prospects for drought-damaged corn.  Soybeans will be more receptive to August rainfall and have some potential to recover if favorably cooler, wetter weather arrives.  In addition, revival of drought-stricken pastures will require substantial rain and lower temperatures.

Weather Update and Outlook:  Since August 7, highly beneficial showers have fallen in the Midwest, although most locations have received less than an inch of rain.  Cool air is trailing the rain into the Corn Belt, and below-normal Midwestern temperatures can be expected to continue into early next week.  Currently, dry weather has returned to the western Corn Belt, but showers will linger through Friday in the eastern Corn Belt.  The next opportunity for Midwestern showers will occur early next week, when a warm front crosses the region.  Following the warm front’s passage, unfavorably hot weather will return to the Corn Belt by the middle of next week.


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