The past week has featured plenty of discussion on the chances for a new record yield in U.S. corn production and for total corn output in 2016, along with a robust soybean crop even with the key month of August still to come. Much of the reasoning behind the call for new thresholds in harvest is the very-high condition ratings that have been scored this past month; and, it follows that those high condition ratings are likely related to the rainfall pattern during the month of July -- which was also very bountiful.
Thirty-day rainfall totals through July 29 bear that idea out. Precipitation totals were from 2-to-5 inches above normal over much of Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota during July, when we usually think of much drier conditions. That 2-to-5 inches above normal parameter continued south through most of Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky and even west to the southern half of Kansas.
Were there drier areas? Certainly. A large swath of northern Kansas, southern Nebraska, northern Missouri and southern Iowa had total rainfall of around 1-to-2 inches below normal. Central and eastern South Dakota had similar below-normal totals. And the northeastern Corn Belt -- central and northern Indiana, southeastern Michigan, Ohio -- also had 2 inches or more deficits relative to normal. That dry area continued all the way to the northeastern U.S. as well. And, the southern tier of states, from Texas to the Southeast, was also in that 2 inches or more deficit.
However, the fact that the greatest percentage of corn and soybean production is in the area of the above-normal precipitation -- combined with favorable soil moisture from winter precipitation -- means that, on balance, the month of July was a beneficial one for U.S. corn and soybean production prospects.
Bryce Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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