* Modest rainfall in Midwest provides some relief
* Return to heat and dryness next week in central/southwest
* Markets bracing for gov't cuts in forecast production
By Sam Nelson
CHICAGO, Aug 7 Crop-friendly showers and cooler
temperatures are expected this week in much of the
drought-stricken U.S. Midwest crop region but a return to heat
and dryness is likely by next week, an agricultural
meteorologist said on Tuesday.
"There were very good rains over the weekend and another
round of showers are expected in the northwest Midwest today and
tomorrow," said Don Keeney, a meteorologist for MDA EarthSat
Keeney said the central and eastern Midwest should receive
from 0.30 inch to 1.00 inch Thursday and Friday, and high
temperatures will be in the 80s (degrees Fahrenheit) rather than
the 90s F.
"Temperatures will be cooler late this week, a high of only
77 F in Chicago by Friday but there's a return to heat next
week," Keeney said.
Keeney said some of the late-planted U.S. soybean crop would
benefit from the late summer turn to damper weather but the
lion's share of the U.S. corn crop has already been affected by
the worst drought in 56 years.
Corn and soybean prices were driven to record highs in late
July as the drought worsened, trimming crop production. Prices
for each eased on Monday but by Tuesday the market was turning
higher again on concerns about more crop losses.
Relentless heat and drought has slashed prospects for the
U.S. corn crop to a five-year low and the supply of corn next
year is expected to fall to its lowest in nearly 20 years.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Friday will
release its August crop report and traders are bracing for the
U.S. soybean inventories could fall to their lowest level in
32 years as the drought continues to trim U.S. soybean
Soybean conditions began to stabilize last week on improved
crop weather in a broad swath of the Midwest while corn
conditions declined another one percentage point. However the
ratings for each remained the worst since 1988 as the heat and
dryness took a huge bite out of crop prospects.
Commodity Weather Group (CWG) on Tuesday said rains were
still limited for the central and southwest Midwest and at least
one-third of the Midwest soybean belt and over half of the Delta
soybeans will remain under drought stress this week.
(Reporting By Sam Nelson; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)