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The U.S. corn and soybean crops may be the smallest in 9 years after severe drought hit most of the prime Midwest growing areas, advisory firm Pro Farmer said following its annual Crop Tour last week.
Farmers will harvest about 10.478 billion bushels of corn this year, Pro Farmer said August 24, citing results from fields surveyed in Illinois, Iowa and five other Midwest states. Based on Pro Farmer's forecast, the harvest would be down 15% from the 2011 crop and the lowest since the crop totaled 10.09 billion bushels in in 2003.
The devastating impact of what by some measures is the worst U.S. drought since 1956 were evident as the crop scouts found parched fields and stunted plants across the Midwest. Pro Farmer estimated the U.S. soybean crop at 2.6 billion bushels, down 15% from last year.
Corn in eastern Indiana, for example, showed "extreme drought stress," Pro Farmer said. "A lack of ears and grain length pulled yields down." In South Dakota, Pro Farmer found "absolutely the worst corn crop we've sampled since 1998," when the firm began surveying states in the region.