The US is set for more of the rains which took a toll on the condition of corn and soybean crops, although the worst of the precipitation looks like missing the areas which suffered last week.
Tropical Storm Bill, which has formed off the coast of Texas, is expected to make landfall on Tuesday, bringing heavy rains to the southern Plains before heading north east towards the Corn Belt.
“It is projecting a move up through east Texas and into Arkansas, southern parts of Illinois and Indiana,” said Darrell Holaday at Kansas-based broker Country Futures, although adding that such “storms are difficult to project”.
This week, “across the Midwest, frequent rounds of rain will occur,” said Terry Reilly at Chicago broker Futures International.
At rival RJ O’Brien, Richard Feltes flagged an outlook for “more unneeded precipitation” for the Midwest.
Indeed, the forecasts follow data showing the damage that heavy precipitation has already wrought on US crops, with the US Department of Agriculture overnight outlining declines in both domestic corn and soybean condition last week.
“The heavy rains over the past week had an effect on crop conditions,” said Paul Georgy at broker Allendale.
US corn was rated 73% “good” or “excellent” as of Sunday, down 1 point week on week, with soybeans showing a 2-point drop to 67% seen as good or excellent.
Both figures were below market expectations, besides down on year-ago readings of 76% for corn and 67% for soybeans.
However, there were some expectations that the flooding will miss the areas worst affected last week, in eastern Corn Belt states such as Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, where crops showed particular declines in ratings.
In Ohio, the proportion of corn in good or excellent condition was down 5 percentage points at 67%, and of soybeans by five points to 69%.
“Heavy rains through the state have brought many concerns for producers,” USDA scouts said, noting that “ponding has occurred in low lying areas, drowning out crops and favouring disease”.
In Illinois, the proportion of soybeans was down 4 percentage points to 70%, with the USDA noting that “flooding was reported in several parts of the state”, thanks to rains which averaged 3.24 inches – 2.27 inches above normal.
Indiana the ratings for both corn and soybeans were down 2 points to 71%, as the USDA noted that “storms and heavy rainfall brought unwanted excess moisture to many areas of the state.
“Much of the state experienced above average rainfall along with strong winds and hail which left fields ponded and halted fieldwork.”
Threat moves west
Instead, this week’s rains look hitting worst in western Corn Belt areas where rains have already been causing severe setbacks for growers.
“The western Corn Belt will still see localised flooding across parts of Kansas and Missouri into southern Illinois this week,” Mr Reilly said, adding that “local amounts over the next seven days in these areas could top 4.00 inches”.
Last week, Missouri farmers accelerated somewhat their soybean sowings, getting 12% of the crop in the ground but, with 42% seeded remain well behind the 79% typically planted by now.
“Widespread precipitation continued to limit fieldwork across most of the state this week, with Missouri averaging 1.43 inches of rain state-wide,” the USDA said.
Kansas farmers have sown 57%, compared with a typical 85%.
“Positive for prices”
The rains were also seen as slowing the winter wheat harvest, which progressed by seven points to 11% completion, behind an average of 20% by now.
Again, harvests in Kansas and Missouri were well behind their typical pace, although drier weather in some parts of the southern Plains allowed Oklahoma and Texas growers to play catch up a little.
Winter wheat condition deteriorated a little, with the proportion rated good or excellent steady at 43%, but that seen as “poor” or “very poor” up by 2 points week on week to 22%.
The USDA data overall were viewed by Mr Feltes as “positive” for crop prices, and indeed futures made a bright start in Chicago.
(Source – http://www.agrimoney.com/news/us-counts-rain-damage-to-crops—as-fresh-storm-looms—8463.html)