U.S. Corn, Soybean Conditions Worsen on Dry Midwest Weather

U.S. corn and soybean crop conditions declined last week as hot, dry weather curbed yield prospects in Iowa and Illinois, the biggest producers, the Department of Agriculture said today in a report.

About 63 percent of the corn was rated good or excellent as of June 17, down from 66 percent a week earlier and 70 percent a year earlier, USDA data show. Approximately 56 percent of the soybeans earned the top ratings, down from 60 percent last week and 68 percent at the same time in 2011, the department said. Less than 5 percent of normal rain fell in parts of Iowa and Illinois in the past week, National Weather Service data show.

“With the lack of moisture in north-central Illinois and a lot of the Corn Belt” the ratings were expected to decline, Scott Stoller, a grain merchandiser at Michlig Grain in Manlius, Illinois, said in a telephone interview. “In northwest Iowa they saw some rain, so maybe there was some improvement in the western half of Iowa, but in eastern Iowa and Illinois things are tough.”

The spring-wheat crop was rated 76 percent good or excellent, up from 75 percent last week, USDA data show. The winter-wheat crop was 48 percent harvested, up from 35 percent the prior week, the department said.

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