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Rain breaks Midwest dought: Too late for corn, soybean crops?

Rain arrived in central Illinois and Indiana Thursday. But it's too little, too late for most corn crops, says an agricultural meteorologist.

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One green stalk of corn stands out in a dry field near Bennington, Neb., Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. Dry conditions have worsened in the key farming states of Kansas and Nebraska even as it eased in other key farming states, as the worst U.S. drought in decades continues, the latest national report said Thursday.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

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Dry weather will return to the drought-stricken U.S. Midwest crop region, with corn and soybeans ending their growing season on a negative note after this week's rains proved to be too little too late, an agricultural meteorologist said Friday.

"There were some decent rains in central Illinois and west central Indiana yesterday, but it's too late for corn and too late for most of the bean crop," said Don Keeney, meteorologist for MDA EarthSat Weather.

The worst drought in more than 50 years through the heart of the summer growing season severely hurt the corn and soybean crops, slashing production and driving prices to record highs.

IN PICTURES: The 2012 drought
Rains now will help some of the later-maturing soybeans, mainly in the Northwest, but showers arrived too late to revive any of the corn crop, Keeney said.

From 1.0 to 1.5 inches of rain fell in the central Midwest on Thursday, with up to 2.5 inches in west central Indiana.
There has not been enough rain to end the historic drought, and now it appeared there would be a return to drier weather.

"It looks like a dry weekend and dry next week, there could be some rain in the last week of August," he said.

Cooler temperatures, with highs in the 70s to 80s degrees Fahrenheit, were forecast for most of the Midwest crop region.

The oppressive heat and dryness kept a tight grip on top farm states over the past week. Although there were a few improvements, some areas experienced more serious degradation, according to a weekly report from climate experts released on Thursday.

Rain provided some relief to parched farmland stretching from Iowa through Ohio, but other areas including the Southern and Central Plains remained scorched.

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