Despite widespread rainfall in state, condition of corn crop deteriorates

download (6) Despite the first week of above-average rainfall in six weeks, the quality of the corn crop fell, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Tuesday.

The percentage of Iowa’s corn crop rated good to excellent dropped from 57 percent for the week ending Aug. 28 to 55 percent for the week ending Sunday. Nationally, the percentage of good to excellent corn dropped from 56 percent a week ago to 52 percent last week.

The USDA said “much of Iowa received welcome precipitation over the past week. Unfortunately, some areas of far northern Iowa reported that rain came with high winds and hail.”

Farmers and yield forecasters have warned that the rains that came last week were probably too late to undo damage caused by the July heat wave during pollination.

The 2011 crop appears to be maturing quickly. “The crop continues to move quickly towards maturity, and widespread harvest is probably just a couple of weeks away,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said Tuesday.

On Tuesday Allendale Inc. pegged this year’s national corn yield at 147.7 bushels per acre. Informa Economics put the yield at 151 bushels.

Those numbers are in line with the 146.3 bushels per acre by FC Stone and 147.9 bushels per acre by Professional Farmers of America. Iowa State University agronomy meteorologist Elwynn Taylor has put the crop at 149 bushels per acre.

The August forecast by the USDA put the national yield at 153 bushels per acre, a drop from an earlier estimate of 158.9 bushels per acre. The U.S. corn yield last year was 153 bushels per acre. In 2009, the national yield was 164 bushels per acre.

The latest round of yield forecasts tempered a drop in corn prices Tuesday on the Chicago Board of Trade. After being down almost 14 cents per bushel in midmorning trading, December corn rallied to close down just 3 cents per bushel to $7.46 for the September contract.

Soybeans were down 22 cents per bushel to $14.13.

Mike Howlett of Top Third Ag Marketing in Chicago said: “Could we rally through harvest like we did last year? We could, and I hope we do. However, will there be heavy selling as producers can unload $7 corn and $14 beans straight out of the field?”

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