Rain - At Last!

22/08/12 -- Is El Nino coming, and bringing with it an end to the US drought? Things finally do seem to be changing, although too late to help corn.

Here's what my old chum Gail Martell of Martell Crop Projections has to say:

"The weather pattern over North America is undergoing change promoting heavy rain potential in the United States heartland. Not only are Midwest farm states expecting heavy rain – Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota – but also parched winter wheat farms in Kansas, Oklahoma and West Texas.

It is not too late for soybeans to benefit from heavy rain. Pod filling is a 30-35 day process that continues well into September, even after plant leaves begin turning yellow.

Corn is beyond repair where more than 50% of the crop is “denting”, the kernel drying stage. As of August 19, 60% of United States corn was denting. Just a small amount 4% of corn was mature. Corn in the midst of filling kernels would still benefit from a soaking rain.

Kansas topsoil moisture was rated 72% very short, 24% short, 4% adequate and 0% surplus on August 19. This is driest I can ever remember. One good rainfall would not be enough to replenish parched fields, but a solid inch of rain would be a good start.

Kansas wheat seeding is set to begin in late September, finishing up around the middle of October.

Meanwhile, tropical storm Isaac is encroaching on the Caribbean Sea, expected to reach hurricane strength as is moves westward across the warm waters of the Caribbean. This is a ferocious looking storm on the satellite view.

Isaac is on a track that bends northward, making landfall in Florida Monday evening or Tuesday. The storm would then move slowly northward up the Atlantic seaboard.

If Isaac follows a track up the East coast, it would have little bearing on Midwest crops west of the Mississippi River. However, strong desiccating winds would develop over a large swath of the eastern Midwest and the Mid South. These winds would develop from the hurricane's counterclockwise winds, on the "back side" of the storm centre as it trudges up the Atlantic coast."

Reuters meanwhile are today reporting that Argentina is set to have "its wettest August on record" with Buenos Aires already having had 8.7 inches of rain so far this month. That should be good news for newly planted wheat and could also see corn and soybeans get planted earlier than normal, maximising yield potential.

Argy corn planting usually starts mid-September, with soybean planting kicking off around a month later.