CONSULTANT LOWERS CORN YIELD, AGAIN... Crop Consultant Dr. Michael Cordonnier says rapid deterioration of the corn crop in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, as well as continued stress on other key Midwest states, has led to a 6-bu. drop in his projected yield to 140 bu. per acre for a crop of 12.36 billion bushels. He also lowered his maximum yield projection to 145 bu. per acre but left the minimum unchanged at 125 bu. per acre. "We definitely now must assume that the worst-case scenario may be the likely outcome for the 2012 corn crop," he says. "The damage to the corn crop is done and any future rainfall would just slow the rate of decline."
When looking at the top 18 production states, Dr. Cordonnier now puts 74.0% in the below-trend category (68.3% last week), 14.0% in the trendline category (7.2% last week) and 2.8% in the above-trend category (15.3% last week). He moved Minnesota and South Dakota from the "above trend" category to "trendline." The remaining "above trend" states are North Carolina and Texas.
CONSULTANT LOWERS SOYBEAN YIELD, TOO... Dr. Cordonnier has also lowered his soybean yield projection by 1 bu. to 39.0 bu. per acre for a crop of 2.87 billion bushels. He lowered his maximum yield projection by 1 bu. per acre to 41 bu. per acre, but left the minimum unchanged at 35 bu. per acre. He says while the crop continues to hold its own and wait for moisture, it has lost another week of potential growth. "The critical time for soybeans is yet to come, but the crop will probably enter the pod filling period under extremely dry conditions," he says.
When looking at the top 18 production states, Dr. Cordonnier now puts 73.9% of U.S. soybean acreage in the below-trend category (68.1% last week), 7.5% in the trendline category (7.7% last week) and 13.0% in the above-trend category (18.6% last week). He moved North Dakota from the "above trend" category to "trendline." The remaining states that are "above trend" are Louisiana, Minnesota and Mississippi.
LONGEST DRY SPELL BROKEN IN INDIANA... The National Weather Service in Indiana says meager rain of 0.09 inch at the Indianapolis airport for the 46-day period to July 16 broke a 45-day period record from Aug. 13 to Sept. 26, 1908. "The Indianapolis area had seen 17 consecutive days of 90-degree weather through July 13. This string ended Saturday with the high only reaching 89 degrees, but resumed again on Sunday and will likely only continue through Wednesday," states the bureau.
BERNANKE TESTIMONY: MORE OF THE SAME... In his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee this morning, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stuck to the same message he has been delivering for months: The Fed continues to monitor the weak U.S. economy and stands ready to step in with additional stimulus measures if needed -- in other words, not yet. He reiterated the U.S. economic recovery remains tepid and restrained by financial turmoil in Europe as well as fiscal policy uncertainty in the U.S. His testimony disappointed market hopes he would hint that a third round of quantitative easing is near.
HOUSE FARM BILL TIMELINE... The House Ag Committee-passed farm bill at this time would not likely pass that chamber, say veteran House sources. Much of the contention is in regard to food stamp funding cuts. That ups the odds House GOP leaders will punt the farm bill either into the post-election, lame-duck session of Congress or extend the farm bill and work on the measure in 2013.
A poll of seasoned congressional observers regarding the final timing of a new farm bill showed they were near evenly split between the lame-duck session and 2013, with a slight nod to the lame-duck session. A few suggested before the election but they quickly acknowledged that was more of a hope than a prediction.
One contact pointed out the U.S. farm economy has experienced, by some measures, historic prosperity while the rest of the economy staggered through recession and remains fragile. House leadership, according to the source, may believe that focusing on an anemic economy takes precedent over a vibrant sector. But political posturing at the onset of fair season clouds the outlook. For more on the likely path of the farm bill, click here.