Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The latest AccuWeather 2019 crop production analysis predicts a significant decline from last year’s corn and soybean yield, as well as a noticeable variation from the July U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates.AccuWeather analysts predict the 2019 corn yield will be 13.07 billion bushels, a decline of 9.3% from 2018 and 5.8% lower than the latest USDA figures. It would be the lowest yield since 2012, a year of a significant drought that saw final corn production numbers plummet to 10.76 billion bushels.The difference between AccuWeather and USDA estimates centers on forecasts for projected corn acres harvested, with AccuWeather analysts concerned that late-planted corn either won’t yield well or could be affected more so this year by on-time frost.AccuWeather’s projected soybean yield of 3.9 billion bushels reflects an even greater decline from 2018’s final soybean production numbers. It would be a 14.1% dropoff from the final figure of 4.544 billion bushels, and the lowest yield since 2013 (3.357 billion bushels). However, AccuWeather’s predicted soybean yield is 1.4% higher than the USDA’s July estimate (3.845 billion bushels).“The upcoming weather is still very important for both crops,” said Jason Nicholls, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist. “We’re not forecasting horrible weather but there have been some problem areas in a small but important part of the U.S. Corn Belt, including Iowa, Illinois and Indiana.”The USDA will release its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) on Monday, Aug. 12. Last month’s WASDE estimates left many in the farming industry puzzled by the high forecast for corn acreage planted (91.7 million acres) despite the flooding and persistent rain that plagued Corn Belt farmers early.The estimate had “everyone scratching their heads,” Fred Traver, a farmer from Ohio, emailed AccuWeather. “The best guess by analysts and farm organizations is that [estimate] includes acres reported to the USDA/Farm Service Agency as prevented planting corn and is not the actual planted acres…. Hopefully that will be separated from the actual planted acres sometime in the near future.”
England captain Alastair Cook on Monday described the forthcoming four-Test series against India as a huge challenge as no English team has won a Test series here for almost three decades, but did not appear too concerned about the nature of the pitches they might have to play on.”It’s a huge challenge as history suggests. It is so hard for an English side to win in the sub-continent. We are just desperate to use the conditions in these three (warm-up) games and change things around,” the opener said at his first post-arrival media conference here.”It’s been 30 years (since England won a Test series in India). That’s the sort of challenge we have ahead of us. Nowhere is it going to be easy; there are going to be really tough hurdles on the way. We have to overcome those challenges. As players we put ourselves in that situation as to what we want to do. If we want to be tested against the best in hard conditions then this tour is up there,” Cook added.The 2-1 Test series victory after coming from a match down in 1984-85 under David Gower was the last time England beat India at home. The present England team, barring Kevin Pietersen, flew in early this morning from Dubai, where they had been practicing for a few days. Pietersen had arrived late last night from South Africa after being part of Delhi Daredevils in Champions League T20.”Both sides have world-class players. It’s going to be a fantastic series to watch. Whichever team handles the conditions better will win the series,” said the England skipper, who made his Test debut with a half century and an unbeaten ton at Nagpur six years ago.advertisementHowever, he refused to be drawn into talking much about the nature of wickets here. “We can’t control the wickets. We have to adapt to whatever the conditions are. I am sure India will have to do the same job,” he said.Cook said there was no quick fix to play spin bowling in the sub continent. “(Graham) Gooch (former England captain and team batting coach) sent me here when I was 19. It’s never a single fix; it’s a gradual process to play spin in the sub-continent. I made my Test debut in India. I feel I have the experience to pass my experience to younger players. I have a fairly decent record here as well.If we have to win the series all of us will have to stand up and score runs,” he said.Cook also rued the absence of long-term opening partner and former captain Andrew Strauss, who has retired, but said this gave a chance to some one else to put his hand up and deliver. “That will be one of the big changes; it will be strange to walk out and bat for England without Strauss. It was a pleasure to bat with him and it was great to know such a familiar face at the other end. We are friends off the cricket field and that showed in our relationship when we were batting. It’s a shame that will never happen again,” he said.”But it’s a great opportunity for someone else to go out and open the batting for England. I made my debut six and half years ago in India and it’s a great place to open the batting. It’s a great opportunity for someone to stick his hands up and make the opening space his. There’s no better place to bat for England than at the opening slot,” Cook said.Cook also said his team would not take the warm-up games lightly. “We always try and win these warm up games. The idea is always to get as much game time for our players so that they are ready for the first Test,” he said.Asked about the absence of any frontline spinners in the India A squad, Cook did not think it was an issue. “We have no right to select the India A team, it’s not in out control. There’s Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina in the team for spin. We have done a huge amount of work after what happened in the UAE 12 months. We will continue to do that in the next two months,” he said.Team director Andy Flower said his team focused on playing seam bowling in Dubai apart from spin. “Seamers can take wickets in these conditions. So that was part of our focus as well,” he said.advertisementAbout Pietersen, Flower confirmed that he would play the warm-up games. “Kevin will play tomorrow and go at No. 4. It’s been a day of recovery. We have seen Kevin, he’s desperate to get going and we are desperate to have him back in the team. It’s always great to have a world class player in the team,” said Flower.”We want to play outstanding cricket that we are capable of. He’s played a huge amount of cricket and a lot in the sub-continent and in the IPL and that experience will be valuable for us,” said Flower.England play India A in the first three-day game from Tuesday.