CHICAGO (Reuters) - Additional rainfall from late Thursday into the weekend will further stall corn and soybean plantings in the U.S. Midwest, threatening to trim acreage and yield potential for each crop, an agricultural meteorologist said on Thursday.
"The rain will end in the western Corn Belt on Friday and in the eastern Corn Belt on Saturday," said Andy Karst, meteorologist for World Weather Inc. "It certainly won't be ideal for planting."
Karst said nearly 100 percent of the Midwest would receive rain with the heaviest rainfall of 1.0 to 3.0 inches or more in Missouri, eastern Kansas, Iowa and Illinois.
"They will be soaked. There will be a couple days of drier weather following these showers but the rains will return next Tuesday and continue all of next week," he said.
Commodity Weather Group (CWG) on Thursday said plantings of corn and soybeans would remain slow and the greatest concern is in Iowa, the top corn and soybean producing state in the United States.
"Flooding issues will also remain possible in southern Iowa, Illinois and Missouri," said CWG meteorologist Joel Widenor.
U.S. farmers slowed the pace of planting during the past week due to rainy conditions that delayed the tail end of corn seeding and pushed soybean planting to its slowest in 17 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its weekly crop progress report on Tuesday.
The slow seeding of both crops this spring has raised concerns about reduced yields at autumn harvest as key phases of crop development will likely be delayed until the heat of the summer. A late planting also increases the possibility of an early frost inflicting further damage on the crops.
The USDA said that corn planting was 86 percent complete as of May 26, up 15 percentage points from a week earlier.
The corn progress was down from 99 percent a year ago and behind the five-year average of 90 percent. But prospects were much improved from just two weeks ago, when muddy fields led to the slowest start on record for corn planting.
Farmers had finished 44 percent of soybean planting as of May 26, compared with 87 percent a year ago and the five-year average of 61 percent. It was the slowest pace for soybeans since 1996, when farmers had seeded just 35 percent of their crop by the end of May.
"The rains fell again across the state last week bringing planting progress to a halt," the Illinois field office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service said in a report.
Analysts had been expecting corn planting to be 86 percent complete and soybean planting to be 42 percent finished, according to the average of estimates in a Reuters poll.
Additional reporting by Mark Weinraub in Chicago