PUBLISHED: 17:40 EST, 17 July 2012 | UPDATED: 06:26 EST, 18 July 2012
The weather gas been stressing soy and corn crops from Indiana to Arkansas, driving up grocery prices and hurting the once booming agriculture industry.
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Meteorologists said on Tuesday that there was a glimmer of hope, however, saying that there were improved odds for rainfall.
‘The rains will be too late for corn but it will help soybeans. We see upwards of an inch to 1-1/2 inches (of rain) this week and again next week for Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky,’ said Don Keeney, meteorologist for MDA EarthSat Weather.
A midday run of the weather forecasting models boosted expectations for rain in the middle of next week, said Jason Nicholls, meteorologist for AccuWeather.
The new forecast calls for rains of 0.2 to 0.7 inch around the region, up from earlier outlooks of 0.1 to 0.6 inch.
‘The front for Wednesday and Thursday of next week looks slightly wetter, (but) not a drought buster,’ Mr Nicholls said.
Grain prices pared gains after the new forecasts, with November soybeans turning lower after marking a session record high of over $16 per bushel.
Hunger: The weather gas been stressing soy and corn crops from Indiana to Arkansas, driving up grocery prices and hurting the once booming agriculture industry
Corn prices, which came within a whisker of their nearly $8 all-time peak, was marginally higher.
To cope with the economic implications of the weather, the U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) has designated 1,016 counties in 26 states as natural disaster areas, according to NPR.
That means hard-hit farmers can apply for low-interest emergency loans from the USDA.
‘We’re keeping more farmers in business and supporting our rural American communities through difficult times,’ said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement.
However, the drought is spreading into the western and northwestern crop belt as well, leading to further stress and more crop losses.
Mr Keeney said hot, dry weather would remain the norm for the next two weeks in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, the Dakotas and southern Wisconsin.
‘Temperatures will get up to 100 (degrees Fahrenheit) today in Chicago and 102 in St. Louis,’ he said.
Cooler temperatures in the 80s and 90s are expected by the weekend, but hotter weather is likely to return next week. The expanding drought, now considered the worst in over a half century, punished the U.S. corn crop last week.
The USDA, in its weekly crop progress report on Monday, said just 31 percent of the corn crop was in good to excellent shape, down from 40 percent a week earlier and below analysts’ average estimate of 35 percent.
Soybean conditions fell to 34 percent from 40 percent in the good to excellent category, below estimates for 35 percent.
Commodity Weather Group (CWG) on Tuesday said over half of the Midwest would continue with severe moisture deficits and plenty of heat, particularly in the western corn belt.
‘Late pollinating and filling corn and pod-setting soybeans will see yields fall further,’ said CWG meteorologist Joel Widenor. ‘Showers may scatter into the south and east Midwest, but relief for the belt as a whole would still be limited.’
Chicago Board of Trade corn prices have soared more than 40 percent in only six weeks as crop prospects have plunged.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2175071/Drought-devastating-U-S-WORST-1956-half-country-withers-unrelenting-heat.html#ixzz20zuuc9nH