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Across the Corn Belt, scattered showers and thunderstorms continue to affect the upper Midwest. Meanwhile, patchy dryness is adversely affecting some late-developing corn and soybeans in the central and eastern Corn Belt.

On July 21, only 35% of the U.S. corn was silking and 40% of the nation’s soybeans were blooming. That marks the slowest developmental pace for corn since 1997 and the slowest pace for soybeans since 1996.

On the Plains, mostly tranquil weather favors summer crop development. From Nebraska northward, the winter wheat harvest is advancing or — in the case of South Dakota and Montana — just getting underway. On the southern High Plains, some rangeland, pastures and summer crops are in need of rain.

In the South, showery weather continues across Florida’s peninsula and in scattered locations along the Gulf Coast. Across the remainder of the region, a slow warming trend and sunny conditions favor fieldwork and crop growth.

In the West, heat is intensifying across California’s Central Valley and parts of the Intermountain region. Meanwhile, an active monsoon circulation is contributing to scattered showers across the Great Basin and the Four Corners states. The Southwestern showers are helping to ease the effects of short-term dryness.  

Several areas, including the Midwest and parts of the Gulf Coast region, will experience periods of appreciable rainfall during the next five days. In addition, the full-fledged onset of monsoon-related showers will lead to local downpours in the Southwest.

In contrast, mostly dry weather will prevail through early next week on the southern Plains, across the southern Mid-Atlantic states, and from the Pacific Coast to the northern High Plains. Significant heat will be confined to parts of the western U.S.

Looking ahead, the six- to 10-day outlook calls for near- or above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions in northern Washington and parts of the Great Lakes region. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation in the Northwest and from southern sections of the Rockies and Plains into the lower Great Lakes region should contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in much of the Southwest and portions of the Atlantic Coast states.

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Greg Soulje, a professional meteorologist since 1985, offers national agricultural weather forecasts via "This Week in Agribusiness."