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FORT COLLINS, (Colo.): After a largely dry summer, the shift to a wetter pattern across the US Corn Belt has mostly stabilized yield hopes for the Crop Watch corn and soybeans, but late improvements are expected for the two corn fields in top grower Iowa. In general, Crop Watch producers feel a little better about yield prospects for corn versus those for soybeans, though projections for both remain slightly lower than a month or two ago.

Both Iowa producers increased yield expectations by a quarter-point on their corn fields, and those were the only changes made this week. The western Iowa corn joins the southeastern Illinois corn as the only two of the 22 Crop Watch fields where yield expectations are a perfect 5.

Rainfall for the western Iowa location over the past six weeks was double that of eastern Iowa despite a slightly wetter climate in the eastern half of the state.

The 11-field, unweighted average corn yield increased to 3.82 from 3.77 a week earlier. That is tied with the mid-August average but below expectations prior to that. Those ratings would represent an above-average but not great crop. A score of 3 reflects yields close to farm average, 4 is solidly above, and 5 is well above average or record yields.

All 11 locations received rain last week, the most being 4.3 inches (109 mm) in Nebraska and the least 0.3 inch in southeastern Illinois. That was far more rain than was needed in Nebraska, but producers in that area are generally optimistic about the harvest ahead.

Most of the Crop Watch fields are no longer helped by rains, and the week ahead is forecast to be drier than normal, especially in the west. Crops should continue steadily moving toward maturity with moderate to slightly warm temperatures expected.

The Dakota locations have been the driest ones all summer, but both producers noted this week that their lawns have greened up for the first time this year with between 2 and 3 inches of rain over the past three weeks.

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