October 6, 2003



Frost Reduces the Quality of US Soy Crop


Cold weather for a second straight day on Friday has damaged US soybeans that were planted late and are of the late maturing variety, says private forecaster Mike Palmerino of Meteorlogix.


The damage could further lower the quality of this year's crop, forecast by the US. Agriculture Department last month to be the smallest in seven years due to hot dry weather in August disrupting the plants' pod setting and filling process.

He said temperatures were as low as 28 degrees Fahrenheit in southern parts of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio on Friday.

"There is the potential of further damage," he said, adding that low temperatures on Thursday morning had likely affected some of the soybean crops in the southern Midwest region that were planted late or were still filling pods.

"(Weather) yesterday was definitely damaging. We had temperatures down to the mid-20s (Fahrenheit) in central Illinois. Those temperatures in Champaign, Illinois, were the earliest freeze days in 50 years," he added.

Palmerino said the weekend was expected to be frost-free, with lows in the low 40s degrees. He said cold winds should return to the Midwest on Monday and Tuesday, with lows of 30-35 degrees.

Soy plants affected by the cold weather were unlikely to re-generate, and chances were that their condition would deteriorate, says Palmerino. "They are not like wheat plants which get better when they get some water," he added.

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