Hot, dry weather may lead USDA to further downgrade US corn crop

11 Aug 2022 | Mark Shenk

The USDA may have to further downgrade US corn crop conditions and potentially rein in its overall production figure in the days ahead because hot, dry weather in the main producing regions of the US threatens immature crops.

"West-central areas will see limited rain for the corn belt," Terry Reilly, senior grain and oilseed commodity analyst at Futures International, told Agricensus.

"We expect to see a handful of western corn belt states to post a decline in good/excellent ratings on Monday," Reilly added.

In the northern plains, high temperatures and drought is stressing summer crops, like corn, while slightly cooler weather and scattered showers are moving across the southern plains.

Nonetheless, immature summer crops in the region remain stressed because of arid conditions and there is likely not enough rain in the forecast to provide relief.

"Poor choice of words perhaps, but the western corn belt is a hot topic with some suggesting we could see an Iowa yield in the low to mid 190’s and Nebraska sub-170,"  Larry Shonkwiler of Advance Trading told Agricensus.

Iowa is the biggest corn-producing state of the US and last year set a record yield for its corn production of 205 bushels per acre.   

"While conditions are better as one travels east, the top end of the crop east of the Mississippi may have been reduced with the recent heat/lack of rainfall," Shonkwiler said.

Corn conditions nationally were noted at 58% in good-to-excellent condition in the week ended August 7, down from 61% last week and from 64% last year, according to a USDA report released late Monday.

The crop’s silking stage of development came in at 90%, up from 80% a week earlier, but down from 94% a year earlier, and the five-year average of 93%.

"Not all areas will be dry next week when a ridge forms across the heart of the US, but a good portion of both belts could see restricted rain," Reilly said. 

Any reduction in corn production would have a negative impact on farmers raising livestock, market participants said. 

These regions are "feeding areas so the poorer crops there mean higher basis levels and pressure feed margins for cattle growers," Jeffrey McPike of McWheat Inc. told Agricensus.