DES MOINES, Iowa -- Corn and soybean prices surged Monday after the latest government report showed a widespread drought in the middle of the country is hurting this year's crop.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture
report said 30% of the corn in the 18 states that produce most of the nation's crop is now considered in poor or very poor condition. A week ago, it was 22%.
Indiana and Illinois have been particularly hard hit. The USDA said 61% of Indiana's corn is now rated poor or very poor, compared to 50% last week. In Illinois, 48% of the corn is rated as poor or very poor, compared to 33% a week ago.
Nationwide, the amount of corn rated good to excellent also is dropping, to 40% this week from 48% a week ago.
Corn surged 31 cents to $7.74 per bushel in afternoon trading.
The soybean crop is stressed too and worries that it will suffer drove prices to a new record on Monday. In morning trade, prices peaked at $16.79 per bushel before settling back down to close at $16.65, up 45 cents.
The USDA reported that 27% of soybeans were in poor or very poor condition in the 18 states were most are grown. It was 22% a week earlier.
Only 40% of the soybean crop was in good or excellent condition, down from 45% a week earlier.
Corn is pollinating in many areas of the farm belt, and extreme heat during pollination can hurt formation of the ears and kernels, cutting into the amount of corn farmers will harvest.
Soybeans develop later and the most critical time for the plant is usually in early August when the bean pods begin to develop.