Rain last weekend has mitigated drought threatening the heart of US corn and soybean country. Please see maps below. Long term prospects remain treacherous, but crops — and yield potentials — have survived another week. The next USDA crop progress report should show an improvement from late June’s eroding chasm of poor crop conditions. On July 5 observers at the University of Illinois and Ohio State University wrote, “Much-needed rains recently came through the Midwest, increasing yield prospects and decreasing the chance of a significant drought like that in 2012.”
July 15 Update: Yesterday, July 14, Agweek reported, “The recent rains have helped to improve the corn and soybean crops, but rain continues to be hit or miss… The July 6 Drought Monitor map is starting to show improvement. The report is now showing 67% of the nation’s corn crop is in some stage of drought, 3% less than last week. Soybeans now have 60% of their crop in some stage of drought, also 3% less than last week.” Faint praise? See the July 10 Weekly Crop Progress report here (the “next” report, referenced above, was meant to point to July 17).
Bloomberg is reporting, “Water levels on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers are falling for a second straight year, raising the prospect of shipping problems along the all-important US freight routes… Widespread drought across the Midwest and lower than normal rains in parts of the eastern US are behind the falling river levels, which last year also plummeted to concerningly low depths. The Mississippi and Ohio rivers and their tributaries are major US freight arteries for moving coal, oil, natural gas, chemicals and commodities… Currently about 64% of the Midwest is in drought, the most in more than a decade.”