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UPDATE 1-Chances of record U.S. corn crop shriveled post storm, Pro Farmer says after tour

(Rewrites throughout)

CHICAGO, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Advisory service Pro Farmer, a division of Farm Journal Media, doused hopes for a record U.S. corn crop on Friday, after a severe wind storm and drought cut yield potential in the top production state of Iowa.

Following a crop tour of seven top producing states, Pro Farmer projected that farmers would harvest a corn crop of 14.820 billion bushels based on an average yield of 177.5 bushels per acre and a soybean crop of 4.362 billion bushels based on an average yield of 52.5 bushels per acre.

Both soy and corn forecasts were below the latest estimates from the U.S. Agriculture Department, though the corn crop would be the second-largest ever and soy would be the third-largest if Pro Farmer’s projections are realized.

A key reason the corn forecast is lower is due to crop scouts’ findings in Iowa, the top U.S. corn producer. Iowa crop conditions this year have struggled with drought conditions and the Aug. 10 derecho storm that sent hurricane-like winds and hail across the center of the state.

Some veteran crop scouts were shocked by the severity of damage. A fermented, or sour, smell was beginning to waft from some fields where corn stalks were broken and corn kernels littering the ground began to spoil, scouts said.

“It’s not going to be fun for these guys come harvest time,” said Brian Grete, director of the tour’s eastern half.

Without the drought and storm, the state’s corn crop would have been massive, Pro Farmer officials said late Thursday.

Dry conditions throughout the state are pushing the crop to maturity and storm winds flattened crops across a wide swath in central Iowa, Pro Farmer said Friday.

“Some of that corn will be harvested, but further yield loss is likely between now and then,” Pro Farmer said in its forecast. (Reporting by Mark Weinraub, P.J. Huffstutter and Julie Ingwersen in Chicago. Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy)

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