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Crop Watch: Dryness clips corn health in eastern belt -Braun

07/05/2022 | 12:15pm EDT

NAPERVILLE, Ill., July 5 (Reuters) - After a dry June, almost all the U.S. Crop Watch producers have been anxiously awaiting rain for their corn and soybeans, which panned out for some over the weekend, preventing a likely decline in crop conditions there.

But other areas missed the moisture, particularly the eastern locations, and four of the 11 Crop Watch producers trimmed corn conditions this week.

The soybeans were not as affected by the drier tendency as Crop Watch conditions rose in the Dakotas and held steady everywhere else.

Each producer is reporting condition scores weekly for their subject corn and soybean field using a 1 to 5 scale, where 3 is average, 1 is very poor and 5 excellent. The condition scores are mostly visual assessments, but producers next week will add in yield scores, a measure of harvest expectations.

The 11-field average corn yield fell to 4.02 from 4.11 last week. Indiana dropped to a 3 from a 4 last week, southeastern Illinois to 4 from 4.5, and Ohio to 2.5 from 2.75. Nebraska also shed a quarter-point, falling to 4, and all these reductions were based on insufficient or no rainfall.

The corn health decline was partially offset by a rise in North Dakota to 2.5 from 1.5, as ideal temperatures and a good moisture base helped the corn recover from earlier hail and wind damage.

The producers in Minnesota and Kansas would have reduced corn conditions without the respective 0.7 inch and 1.25 inches of rain picked up over the weekend. Both Iowa locations tallied about 1.5 inches (38 mm) in the last week, and South Dakota was the wettest with up to 2 inches or more.

That moisture combined with warmth lifted the South Dakota soybean conditions by a quarter-point to 3, and North Dakota also increased by the same amount, reaching 1.25. That bumped the 11-field soybean average to 3.7 from 3.66 last week.

Many of the Crop Watch soybean fields are flowering, the first reproductive stage. The Kansas corn is pollinating now and the southeastern Illinois field is starting to pollinate, and corn in eastern Iowa and Nebraska may be about a week away.

Most of the Crop Watch producers still want rain with varying degrees of urgency, though the most critical situation is in the three easternmost locations. Heat will also be of concern this week across the central and southern Corn Belt, including Kansas.

A more active weather pattern this week is expected to bring rain and storms to most of the Crop Watch locations, excluding Kansas, with heaviest seven-day rainfall totals focused on Iowa, northern Illinois and Indiana, and into Ohio.

The following are the states and counties of the 2022 Crop Watch corn and soybean fields: Griggs, North Dakota; Kingsbury, South Dakota; Freeborn, Minnesota; Burt, Nebraska; Rice, Kansas; Audubon, Iowa; Cedar, Iowa; Warren, Illinois; Crawford, Illinois; Tippecanoe, Indiana; Fairfield, Ohio.

Photos of the Crop Watch fields can be tracked on my Twitter feed using handle @kannbwx. Karen Braun is a market analyst for Reuters. Views expressed above are her own.

(Editing by Matthew Lewis)

© Reuters 2022
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