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Mostly dry conditions across country has corn farmer lowering outlook

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(The Center Square) – While storms soaked parts of Illinois late in the week, droughts across the nation have made grain farmers revise their outlook.

More than 50% of the corn crop in the United States is under some sort of moderate drought stress.

“Pray for a good soaker,” Naomi Blohm, a senior market advisor for Total Farm Marketing, told The Center Square. “So much of the U.S. corn crop is struggling right now. If the rains don’t come in the next 2 to 3 weeks, this really could be a problem.”

Eastern Iowa, the majority of Illinois and the majority of Indiana haven’t been catching any rain, she said.

“When we look at the condition ratings and the corn and soybean indexes which measure plant and soil health and how the crop is doing, the week of June 18 is worse than the same week in 2012 when we were starting to deal with that historic drought,” she said.

In Eastern Nebraska, farmers are experiencing a D-3 drought. Before Thursday’s storms, parts of Iowa and Illinois were in a D-2 drought.

“It’s at the point where we need to see Illinois get 3 or 4 inches of rain, a good soaker, in order for everybody to simmer down and think that the crop is saved and we are back to having, not record, but a pretty darned good crop,” Blohm said.

At this point, getting a quarter inch of rain or a half inch is not going to save the day, she said.

“That keeps the crop alive but it does not make it thrive,” Blohm said.

Thursday’s storms brought parts of Illinois more than 2 inches of rain with more precipitation in the weekend forecast.

In the spring, the USDA was predicting a hefty yield of 181.5 bushels an acre for corn in 2023. With so little rainfall in June, that could “be a far reach,” Blohm said.

Blohm is telling clients to have a balanced approach with marketing.

“Be ready for prices to rally a dollar or fall apart a dollar,” she said. “We are sitting at this teeter-totter point.”

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