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Northeast Iowa corn, soy yields below average, Doane tour shows

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CHICAGO -- Corn and soybean yields across northeastern Iowa, the biggest U.S. grower, will be smaller than the average after rain and cool weather delayed planting and early growth, based on field inspections Tuesday during an annual Midwest crop tour run by Doane Advisory Services Co.

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Corn yields measured in six fields from Clinton to Dumont, Iowa, averaged 166 bushels an acre, 11 percent below the average of 186.5 bushels from 2007 to 2011, tour data show. Last year, the tour measured 115 bushels on average after hot, dry weather damaged crops. Soybean yields averaged 46.7 bushels an acre in the same area, down 5.5 percent from an average during the five years ended in 2011, Doane data show.

"There are some extreme development problems in northeast Iowa from the widespread late plantings," said Marty Foreman, a senior economist from Doane, based St. Louis. "Up to 40 percent of the corn is at risk of lower yields."

Corn futures fell to a 33-month low today on the Chicago Board of Trade and soybeans are headed for the biggest drop since July 12 on speculation that rain and cool weather will aid Midwest crop development.

Corn plants in Iowa need more warm weather and sunshine to aid development because many fields are as much three weeks behind on reproducing, Foreman said. About 35 percent of the state was beginning to reproduce as of July 21, less than half of the prior five-year average, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said yesterday in a report.

Soybeans were beginning to flower on 36 percent of the Iowa crop as of July 21, down from 70 percent on average from 2008 to 2012, USDA data showed yesterday.

Corn and soybean development has been stunted by the late start of planting, and most fields will need to be frost free until after Oct. 1 to reach current yield potential, Bill Nelson, a senior economist for Doane, said while touring Iowa.

"Half the corn and soybean crops are in fair-to-poor condition in northwest Iowa, suggesting below to much below yield potential," Nelson said.

More than 14 percent of this year's U.S. corn crop and about 12 percent of the soybeans were sown in Iowa, the USDA said June 28.

The United States is the world's largest grower of corn and soybeans. The government will release its first field-based estimates of corn and soybean production on Aug. 12.

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