Scorching heat harming corn and soy in dry soil

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Extremely hot weather will move across the southern U.S. Midwest through the weekend, taking a toll on corn and soybean crops, an agricultural meteorologist predicted Wednesday.

"Temperatures will rise to the upper 90s to low 100s degrees Fahrenheit in eastern Kansas, southeast Nebraska, Missouri, southern Iowa, southern Illinois, Indiana and Ohio," said Andy Karst of World Weather Inc.

Scorching temperatures of up to 115 degrees were posted Tuesday in the western Plains states, and the heat wave was moving east. "It was 115 yesterday in Hill City, Kansas and McCook, Nebraska. It won't get that hot in the Midwest but the heat is moving in that direction," Karst said.

There was the potential for showers in the northern Midwest late this week and again next week, and some minimal showers were possible in the driest areas of the Midwest as well.

But "definitely there will be more crop deterioration this week, there won't be enough rain to slow deterioration," the meteorologist warned.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Monday said 56 percent of the U.S. corn crop was in good-to-excellent condition, down 7 percentage points from the previous week.

Soybean conditions declined as well, and crop experts expected further deterioration this week from the extreme dryness in roughly the southern half of the Midwest. And an incoming heat wave will speed crop losses.

Commodity Weather Group (CWG) on Wednesday said it was possible that another surge of heat next week could push temperatures back up to the mid-90s to low-100s in the southwestern part of the Midwest.

"The concern is that much of the southwest half of the Midwest will be pollinating under adverse conditions over the next two weeks," CWG stated. "The area most likely to suffer yield reductions will be in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, southern Nebraska, southeastern Iowa and Kansas."

USDA on Monday said 10 percent of the domestic corn crop was silking or pollinating.

The harsh weather has led to soaring corn and soybean futures prices.

Chicago Board of Trade new-crop December corn futures have leaped to a 9-month high, rising 84 cents or 15 percent this week to trade at $6.38 per bushel at 7:12 CDT (1212 GMT) on Wednesday.

(Reporting By Sam Nelson; Editing by John Picinich)

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