DROUGHT-EASING RAINS FOR COUNTRY'S MIDSECTION... Meteorologist Gail Martell of MartellCropProjections.com says conditions across the country's midsection have suddenly turned stormy, with rains seen in western Kansas and western Texas of up to 0.50 inch and areas of the Corn Belt seeing up to 1 inch of precip over the weekend. Martell says more rain is on the way through midweek of up to 0.75 inch for the Plains and up to 1.5 inches for the Midwest, with the heaviest precip favoring southern Illinois and southern Indiana. Click here for related maps, as well as global weather highlights.
OBAMA EXPECTED TO TAP SEN. KERRY AS SECRETARY OF STATE... President Obama this week could nominate a new Secretary of State to replace outgoing Secretary Hillary Clinton. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is widely expected to be his choice. Clinton is recovering at home after suffering a concussion, a spokesman said Saturday. "While suffering from a stomach virus, Secretary Clinton became dehydrated and fainted, sustaining a concussion," Philippe Reines said in a statement. "She has been recovering at home and will continue to be monitored regularly by her doctors." At the recommendation of her doctors, "she will continue to work from home next week, staying in regular contact with Department and other officials," he said. Clinton canceled a trip to North Africa last week due to illness. Clinton will be unable to testify on the Benghazi raid next week in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee due to her recent concussion. Clinton deputies Tom Nides and Bill Burns will testify in her place before Senate and House committees. Click here for a list Washington-related items to watch this week.
ANOTHER CORN-BASED ETHANOL PLANT TO BE BUILT IN MATO GROSSO... South American crop consultant Dr. Michael Cordonnier says Mato Grosso, Brazil, is quickly becoming a major corn producing state in addition to being the No. 1 soybean state. Because it's very expensive to export corn from central Brazil to corn to Asia or Europe, efforts are under way to utilize more corn by building corn-based ethanol plants.
Dr. Cordonnier explains virtually all the ethanol in Brazil is derived from sugarcane, with the bulk of the sugarcane crop grown in southeast Brazil. But plans are in place to build Mato Grosso's second corn-based ethanol plant, which will also utilize sorghum. "While still small compared to corn, sorghum production is becoming a more popular option for a second grain crop following soybeans. Corn has a higher yield potential than grain sorghum, but the planting window for corn is more restricted," he says.