Drought knocks US maize yields further

Drought has damaged the American maize crop more than previously expected, buoying international corn markets.

A ProFarmer crop tour revealed that yields in the Western Corn Belt would be insufficient to compensate for those in Eastern areas, said a report by the HGCA.

“The US maize crop is seen at 317m tonnes, 11m tonnes below the USDA estimate.”

Just 54% of the maize crop was rated good to excellent, compared to 57% last week and 70% last year.

Chicago maize futures hit their highest level since mid-June following the announcement, with wheat prices following amid quality concerns.

Only half of the US spring wheat crop had been harvested, 16% down on 2010.

And extreme drought conditions were affecting large areas of Texas and Oklahoma, spreading into southern Kansas, said the report.

“Markets are becoming aware of this dryness as planting of winter crops typically gets underway in the coming weeks.”

The International Grains Council recently cut its global maize forecast by 10m tonnes, to 849m tonnes – 12m tonnes below the USDA’s latest estimate.

“The wheat crop was seen at 677m tonnes, up 3m tonnes on July figures and 5m tonnes higher than the USDA estimate.”

In Canada, harvest was 14% complete, against 7% last week, and 17% last year, said a report by Agritel.

“In Australia, crops are growing well, with recent positive rainfall. Wheat harvest could reach 24m tonnes.”

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