Drought in the nations heartland is damaging the staple crops of the Midwest corn and soybeans.
Thirty percent of the corn in the 18 states that produce most of the nations crop is rated poor or very poor, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A week ago, the number was 22 percent.
The 100-degree days with no rain are taking their toll.
Sixty-one percent of Indianas corn is judged poor or very poor, compared to 50 percent last week, the Associated Press reported.
Illinois has fared little better: 48 percent of the corn crop there is poor at best; last week, 33 percent of the states corn was marginal.
The USDA judges only 40 percent of the nations corn to be good to excellent. That has also dropped from 48 percent in a week.
Soybeans are affected, too, by the extreme heat and drought: 27 percent of soybeans are faring poorly or very poor in the 18 states where most are grown, up from 22 percent a week earlier. Last week, 45 percent of the crop was judged in good or excellent condition; on Monday, that had dropped to 40 percent.
Now that corn is pollinating in many areas of the Midwest, the extreme heat can harm development of the ears and kernels, reducing yields. The crucial time for the soybean crop is early August.
After the USDA report, crop prices rose dramatically in trading Monday corn was up 31 cents to $7.74 per bushel and soybeans peaked at $16.79 per bushel, up 45 cents.
The extreme heat and drought are testing farmers throughout the nations midsection. How the crops fare will affect the country.