Soaking rains in June in the Midwest followed by a dry spell in August have produced a corn crop showing sign of strain before the bulk of the harvest begins. With plants hampered by disease, brittle stalks and lack of nutrients, there are growing signs that the U.S. Department of Agriculture may need to cut its production forecast this month.
When the rains came, corn futures jumped 28 percent from June 15 to July 13, touching a one-year high of $4.5425 a bushel, on concern too much moisture would leave damaged plants. Then, prices plunged 17 percent through Tuesday as warm weather dried fields and the USDA unexpectedly raised its national yield forecast, citing the second-biggest plant population and third-highest ear weight ever.
It will take time to gauge the crop damage, Dan Hueber, the general manager of the Hueber Report in Sycamore, Illinois said in a telephone interview on Aug. 26. His company is an advisory service and commodity brokerage.
The government updates its crop estimates on Sept. 11.