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“By Sunday or Monday if we don’t get rain here we will be losing anywhere between 7 to 9 percent of our yield potential,” said Roger Elmore, corn agronomist at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. “If it drags on into next week, it is going to be worse.”
Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois professor of animal sciences, said corn plants, especially in the southern third of the state, are showing irremediable stress from the heat and drought. “Corn plants are firing from the roots up the stalk of the corn plant,” he said, meaning stalks are drying out. “Some corn has tasseled, which may not pollinate, resulting in barren corn stalks” with no ears of corn. Agronomists said calls by farmers for crop insurance claims continued to rise this week, and the worst is far from over for both farmers and consumers, as well as corn processors and exporters worried about supplies and soaring grain prices.
Corn inventories in the U.S., the world’s biggest grower and exporter, were down 7.9 percent on March 1 from a year earlier, the government said. Wheat supplies fell 16 percent, while soybeans reserves rose. Corn stockpiles on March 1 totaled 6.009 billion bushels, down from 6.523 billion a year earlier and the lowest for that time of year since 2004, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Analysts in a Bloomberg survey expected 6.16 billion, on average. “It’s going to be a tight supply situation until farmers begin harvesting this year’s crops,” Marty Foreman, an economist for Doane Advisory Services Co. in St. Louis, said before the report. “We still need to grow a good crop this year to rebuild inventories.”