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Corn silk emerges from an ear of corn in a field east of Bruce on Aug. 20. The hot, dry weather persisting in most areas of South Dakota could have a negative effect on soybean and corn yields. (AP Photo/Dirk Lammers)

Hot, dry weather could affect corn, soy yields

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By Dirk Lammers

The hot, dry weather persisting in most areas of South Dakota is likely to hurt soybean and corn yields, analysts say, as the crops are less mature than during a typical summer.

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Lisa Elliott, a commodity marketing specialist with the South Dakota State University Department of Economics, said the August weather has likely affected crops that are lagging behind in maturity.

The soybean markets are already anticipating lower yields, as September contracts have jumped from about $12 to near $14.50 during the past month on the Chicago Board of Trade.

"The market expects it to go down," Elliott said. "The question is how much will it most likely go down on those yields."

Commodity Weather Group, which tracks weather relevant to the agriculture and energy industries, lowered its South Dakota corn yield projection 4 percent from its July estimate to 146.1 bushels per acre and its soybean yield projection 12 percent from its July estimate to 34.9 bushels per acre.

"The very dry pattern in recent weeks has taken a toll on the pod set and fill for soybeans in nearly half of the Midwest soybean belt," the group said in an Aug. 30 bulletin.

The government's crop yield projections will be updated this week when the USDA releases the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates on Thursday. The August report estimated that corn growers would produce 154.4 bushels per acre and soybean growers would pull 42.6 bushels per acre from their fields.

Both crops are running late compared to last year and the five-year average, as many farmers were forced to delay planting because of the cool, dry spring.

By this time last year, half of South Dakota's soybean crop had dropped its leaves. This year just 8 percent had dropped leaves as of last Monday, well behind the five-year average of 24 percent.

For corn, kernels have dented in just 41 percent of the crop, behind the 78 percent pace of last year and the 49 percent five-year average.

Elliott said farmers' late start has also left some questions about the number of planted acres.

The USDA's Farm Service Agency will release its new crop acreage report on Sept. 17, but those numbers won't be incorporated into USDA's yield estimates until October.

"But of course with that coming out, the market will be trading that information as well," she said.

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