USDA: Cooler weather slowing down corn-crop growth

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The U.S Department of Agriculture said on Monday that corn crops have been affected by the cooler-than-normal weather during this year’s growing season.

The percentage of acres in the dented stage is near the five-year average, but actual crop growth has slowed down, and the USDA attributes this to the cooler weather.

As of Sunday, 39 percent of corn acres had reached the dented stage. The five-year average is 43 percent.

Cool weather is expected to affect much of the Corn Belt this week, slowing progress even more. Corn crops in Iowa trail the five-year average for acres in the denting stage by 10 points. Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska and Tennessee are not faring any better than Iowa; each state’s corn crop is nine points behind the five-year denting-stage average.

A key indicator in corn-crop growth is the number of growing-degree days. In parts of Iowa and Nebraska, the days are running behind normal, which could be a reason for the slow growth this season.

Indiana and Tennessee are ahead of the normal number of growing-degree days, but the crops have been impacted negatively by the weather this season.

One positive from the report is that the estimates of the condition of the crops remained approximately the same as last year. This year, 69 percent of acres rated as "good" or "excellent" for condition, close to last year’s 73 percent reported in the same condition at the same time of year.

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