The nation's corn crop is entering a critical time in its development as tassels start to appear in the heart of the Midwest. And to greet that pollinating corn, Nature is sending the hottest weather of the year. Temperatures in the 90s and higher are predicted for the next five days in the heart of the Corn Belt.
That news, combined with USDA information on quarterly stocks and planted acreage, give the grain trade the incentive to push futures higher, and looking at the five day coverage map there's little chance of rain ahead.
Official 6- to 10 and 8- to 14-day forecasts out yesterday remain dry and mostly hot, though temperatures could return toward normal at the end of the period in the central Corn Belt. Overnight maps agree on the heat this week, but European runs aren't showing as much of a trough easing into the Midwest this week. The latest American model shifted noticeably wetter, but the timing could be too little too late with most of the precipitation coming in mid-July - which is toward the end of the forecast period and limits confidence.
A look at the U.S. Drought Monitor shows continued dry weather working its way farther north (see the 12-week animation to understand the challenge). The final image from last Thursday (shown on this page) - shows the extent of drought conditions already this year.
Lack of rain, hot weather and a market that sweats the details may be pushing up crop prices, but it's also raising concerns among consumers who worry about rising food prices as well.
This week's hot spell will impact the corn crop in ways that have yet to be measured. Check back, we'll keep you posted. Have condition reports from your part of the country? Just comment below and share with other readers.
DROUGHT MONITOR: Latest image from the drought monitor shows conditions continue to deteriorate.