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Deep freeze persists in US Midwest, winter wheat at risk

Published on Jan 28, 2014 10:47 PM

CHICAGO (REUTERS) - The US farm belt remained locked in a deep freeze on Tuesday with sub-zero (Fahrenheit) temperatures, likely damaging portions of the region's dormant winter wheat crop, agricultural meteorologists said.

The latest Arctic outbreak, following weekend snowfall, has also slowed the movement of grain and livestock through the region. Barge traffic has slowed on the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, major arteries for supplying grain to exporters at the US Gulf.

Temperatures dropped to about minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 20.5 deg Cel) overnight in the southern Midwest, areas where crops lack a protective layer of snow cover.

"There is definitely some winterkill in central Illinois, and a little bit in west-central Indiana, northern Missouri and east-central portions of Nebraska," said Mr Don Keeney, a meteorologist with MDA Weather Services.

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