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July 18, 2012

Dry weather points to higher food prices

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Conditions of corn and soybeans dropped in the week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported with continued dry weather expected, meteorologists said.

The weekly USDA crop report issued late Monday said farmers have reported 27 percent of their corn fields are in good condition and 4 percent are in excellent shape in the most recent week. However, in the week prior, 34 percent of the fields were listed as good and 6 percent as excellent.

Soybean fields are showing similar declines. In the most recent week, 30 percent of the crop was listed as good and 4 percent as excellent, down from 35 percent and 4 percent, respectively, in the previous week.

In a statement released Tuesday, predicted, "additional corn crop failures are likely, due to too little rain and too much heat through the middle of August."

AccuWeather said "spotty downpours," will help in the northern and eastern areas of the corn belt, "but not enough rain will fall on a large part of the corn belt, leading to a disaster."

The weather forecast calls for a continued lack of rain in "non-irrigated corn" areas of Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, southeastern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, southwestern Michigan and southeastern Wisconsin.

"Consumers, who are already struggling to afford their grocery bill, or the more fortunate, who are spending away on vacations, may find themselves in quite a pinch late this summer and fall due to climbing food prices," AccuWeather predicted.

In the weekly crop report, in the recent week cotton, peanuts, rice and spring wheat crops showed slight declines or held their own. Farmers even reported improved conditions for peanuts with 58 percent of the crop listed as good and 10 percent as excellent compared to 57 percent and 9 percent in the previous week.

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