Crop ratings for the week of July 8 show the good-to-excellent totals for corn in the major producing states of the Midwest were down by 4 points in Minnesota, possibly due to wet weather; and by 3 points in Illinois. The numbers were basically unchanged elsewhere. Ratings for soybeans were down by 6 points in Illinois, but slipped only one to three points elsewhere. These are still very good ratings.
We feel that the main reason that crop conditions remain so good is that soil moisture supplies across the Midwest are mostly adequate to surplus. Despite the fact that the Midwest has seen some hot weather, this has not prevented rather frequent episodes of scattered showers and thunderstorms. With the exception of Missouri, soil moisture supplies are better than they were a year ago in the Midwest and Northern Plains. This abundance of soil moisture has likely buffered high temperatures in the upper 80s to middle 90s Fahrenheit. If soil moisture was short, high temperatures with this pattern would likely be in the middle 90s to low 100s.
Strong midsummer subtropical ridging is currently located over western Nebraska. This ridge is expected to expand eastward across the Midwest during the next few days before backing off to the south and west during the six- to 10-day period. The evolution of this pattern should allow for a continuation of favorable growing conditions in the Midwest and Northern Plains. This will favor corn pollination. The additional moisture in the northern Plains will also further benefit the spring wheat crop, which is already showing very high good-to-excellent ratings.
On the other hand, stress to pollinating corn in the Southern Plains is acute, as ridging promotes above-normal temperatures and below-normal rainfall. Some producers in Kansas have already called "Time" on the corn crop and have begun making silage in order to salvage at least some feed value from the corn plants. Meanwhile, hot conditions favor wheat harvest progress, which is nearly complete in the major growing areas.
Our latest calculation of the sea surface temperature departure in the eastern equatorial Pacific for the month of June is 0.5 degree Celsius above normal. This is unchanged from the first half of June. The trend toward El Nino continues, but the rate of warming has backed off from the first half of June.
In south Asia, the India monsoon has settled in across the major soybean areas of west-central India. There is no sign of a break in the monsoon developing at this time.
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