* Modest showers help stabilize crop declines
* But most corn already gone, soybean crop fading
* Corn prices nearing record high on Thursday
* Dry Delta a mounting worry for soy crop
* Hotly anticipated USDA crop report due Friday
(Adds midday weather update, fresh meteorologist quotes, adds
updates from weekly drought monitor)
By Sam Nelson
CHICAGO, Aug 9 Midday weather updates on
Thursday show no major let-up from the relentless drought in the
U.S. Midwest that has slashed the corn crop and is now eating
away at soybean production prospects, an agricultural
"No significant shift from the pattern short term, there
will be a few light showers but no soaking rains," said Kyle
Tapley, meteorologist for MDA EarthSat Weather.
Tapley said light showers and cooler temperatures could be
expected through the balance of this week which will provide
minimal relief to crops that have been struggling against the
yield-robbing impact of the worst drought in 56 years.
"The six to 10-day (next week) is for drier weather with
highs in the 90s (degrees Fahrenheit/32-37 degrees Celsius) and
drier and cooler weather could be expected in the 11-15 day
forecast (into mid-August) in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and
Ohio," Tapley said.
Elsewhere in the Midwest, the outlook for two weeks out is
for only minimal showers but cooler temperatures as the 2012
heat wave begins to wind down, Tapley and other meteorologists
"There will be some improvement, the cooler temperatures
certainly will help. But most of the Midwest has not had enough
rain for significant improvement," said Andy Karst,
meteorologist for World Weather Inc.
"Crops may stabilize or decline a little more the next
couple of weeks," he added.
Rainfall this week totaled 0.25 to 1.00 inch (0.6-2.5 cm)
and was scattered over about half of the Midwest, but only about
25 percent received the heavier amount.
"There will be better rains today in the eastern Corn Belt,
and the good news is that high temperatures the next couple of
weeks will be in the 70s to 80s degrees Fahrenheit rather than
100 F," Karst said.
But "certainly no drought busting rains," he stressed.
Another round of modest showers were forecast for next week
that will mimic the occasional downpours of the past couple of
days, Karst said.
Commodity Weather Group (CWG) said the Midwest should be
slightly wetter and cooler for the next two weeks, but soybeans
in the U.S. Delta, a lush crop region near the lower Mississippi
Valley, would be drier for the next 10 days.
That dryness would add stress to an already struggling
"Shower potential has become more limited in the next 10
days in the Delta. This will pose the greatest threat to
double-crop soybeans in areas of Arkansas and bordering sections
of Tennessee and Mississippi," said CWG meteorologist Joel
Chicago Board of Trade corn futures soared to record highs
on Thursday and the soybean market leaped over 3 percent as
investors bought, bracing for government and private projections
of sharp declines in domestic crop prospects.
USDA on Friday will release its August crop report and
traders were getting prepared for another bull run in prices.
Domestic corn inventories could fall to a 17-year low next
summer following this year's harvest, and soybean supplies could
drop to their lowest in 32 years as drought continues to trim
production prospects, according to a Reuters poll of grain
Soybean conditions began to stabilize last week on improved
weather in a broad swath of the Midwest, while corn conditions
declined again. Still, the ratings for both remained the worst
In the past week, extreme drought doubled its grip on the
top corn and soybean producing state of Iowa, according to a
report by a consortium of climate experts issued Thursday.
The area under extreme drought in Iowa rose dramatically to
69.14 percent from 30.74 percent a week ago.
Drought expanded in other important farm states over the
last week as well, to 94 percent of Missouri and more than 81
percent of Illinois for at least extreme drought.
"Every day we go without significant rain ... is tightening
the noose," said Mark Svoboda, a climatologist with the
University of Nebraska's National Drought Mitigation Center.
(Additional reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing
by Marguerita Choy)