Rain slowing drought as Midwest corn harvest unfolds
ST. LOUIS – Recent rainfall came too late to help to the nation's withered corn crop already being harvested in many parts, but it kept drought conditions from worsening in several key Midwest and Plains states and should help other crops still maturing in the fields.
The U.S. Drought Monitor released its weekly map on Thursday that showed the area of Nebraska deemed to be in extreme or exceptional drought – the two most severe categories – held steady during the seven-day period ending Tuesday, at 97.4 percent. Kansas remained unchanged, at 88.34 percent, and Illinois showed little change, coming in at 6.67 percent.
The latest report came a day after the U.S. Department of Agriculture slightly lowered its estimate for the nation's average corn per acre yield, pegging it at its lowest point since 1995. With the U.S. enduring its worst drought in decades, corn and soybean prices have soared this summer amid worries of tighter supplies of the commodities. Major corn users – livestock farmers, the ethanol industry and other countries importing it – will be forced to negotiate their level of use, a sort of market rationing that takes place in years of low supply.
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