Drier weather was expected for the Midwest through the end of August and warmer temperatures were slated to arrive beginning next week, said Joel Widenor, meteorologist for
Commodity Weather Group. 

"Our forecast scaled back (rain) coverage in Missouri and Iowa compared with yesterday's forecast," he said. "There will be plenty of dry spots in the Midwest which will hinder filling
corn and soybeans."

The warmer weather will help to accelerate crop development, which has been lagging this season following late spring planting and cooler summer temperatures, but will also erode
soil moisture levels.

The limited rainfall totals in the forecast arrive at a critical time for corn, which is currently filling pollinated ears with grain, and soybeans, which are adding and filling pods.

"Temperatures are going to warm up, so the GDDs (growing degree days) are going to ratchet higher. But we are not out of the woods yet - so any time we have a drier type forecast, the market is going to be sensitive to it," said Ken Smithmier with the Hightower Report commodity forecaster.

Farmers are holding tight to their remaining old-crop corn stocks and some ethanol plants in the northern Midwest have aggressively raised bids for near-term supplies in an attempt to
spur selling.

Meanwhile, heavy rainfall in the Southeast and Delta regions has stalled an already-delayed harvest and a tropical storm currently in the Atlantic could push rains further north.

"We are already delayed so any further delays are going to support the old-crop market," Smithmier said.