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Drought eases, but too late for corn?

Aug. 23, 2012, Houston, TX - Overall drought conditions eased in the contiguous US over the last week, but worsened in key corn producing states.

Severe drought abated throughout much of the country the week that ended 21 August, according to the US Drought Monitor report issued this morning. But extreme drought conditions intensified in the High Plains region, which includes Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, offering little respite for the US corn crop.

An estimated 77.28 per cent of the contiguous US was in some form of drought last week, down a sliver from the 77.68 per cent reported the previous week. An estimated 23.01 per cent of the country was in the worst stages of drought, slightly lower from 23.68 per cent seen the week prior.

The worst conditions remained centered over the corn-producing US midcontinent. Nearly the entire state of Nebraska – 98.3pc – suffered the most severe stages of drought. Kansas increased slightly to 96.43 per cent of the state in at least extreme drought. Iowa reported 67.54 per cent of the state was in at least extreme drought.

The preponderance of US ethanol production is derived from corn. An estimated 37 per cent of this season's anticipated US corn production is expected to go toward manufacturing ethanol, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

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