U.S. Drought Watch

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Drought conditions in the U.S. have improved somewhat from last year, but much of the Midwest, from the Dakotas to Texas, continues to suffer from moderate to exceptional drought. Conditions improved a bit last week following some reasonably heavy rains in the southern plains of eastern Kansas down through the northern panhandle of Texas.

Corn and wheat prices fell a bit yesterday following the report, but are gaining some of that back today. Inventories of corn and wheat are high for this time of year and expected planting acreage has increased.

Only a little moisture fell in Indiana and Illinois, where spring planting is set to begin as the ground dries out and warms up. That probably added to the relative stability of grain prices yesterday because any corn that gets planted before mid-May will deliver a higher yield than crops planted later.

Corn futures are up fractionally and wheat is lower. The Teucrim Corn ETF (NYSEMKT: CORN) is down 0.2%, at $39.84 in a 52-week range of $35.23 to $52.71. The very lightly traded Tecrium Wheat ETF (NYSEMKT: WEAT) is down 0.2% as well, at $18.56 in a 52-week range of $17.75 to $25.94.

drough monitor 4-2-2013