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Monday, July 15, 2013

Crop Quality Is Beginning to Slide Due to Too Much or Too Little Moisture


There is probably no surprise, but Monday’s USDA Crop Progress and Condition Reports reflected the lateness of the crop and increasing stress for both corn and soybeans.  The weather has not been friendly, a blend of parched fields in the western Cornbelt and flooded fields in the eastern Cornbelt.  It just can’t seem to get a break.


Nationally, the corn crop is rated 17% excellent, 49% good, 25% fair, and 9% poor to very poor, according to the July 15 Crop Progress and Condition Report.  That is a 2% slide out of the good to excellent category from last week, but well above 2012 since the drought had taken a choke hold by this time last year and only 31% was rated good to excellent and 38% was poor to very poor already.  While 67% of the corn was silking by this time last year, only 16% is silking now and that is less than half of the 35% average for the past 5 years.


Nationally, soybeans are rated 13% excellent, 52% good, 27% fair and 8% poor to very poor.  Last week it 12% were excellent, 55% were good, 26% fair and 7% poor to very poor.  In 2012 at this point in the season, about one-third of the beans were each rated poor to very poor, fair, and good to excellent.  26% of the soybeans are blooming and that compares to 40% for the 5-year average.


While the crop nationally changed slightly from the past week, there were several states that had some major declines in the performance of their crops, due to weather stresses.  With Ohio fields flooded, crop quality is declining.  And western states are reporting crop conditions that are reminiscent of dry soils in the 2012 growing season.  Here are some things to watch for, as you review the USDA’s state by state reports:

  • Among the major corn states, weekly ratings were up for 7 states and down for 11 states. Corn ratings were down 9% in KS, 7% in OH, and 13% in TX.
  • If the 2012 ratings are eliminated, corn is typically rated 67% good to excellent for the second week in July and soybeans are typically rated 64% good to excellent.
  • Among the major soybean states, weekly ratings were up for 4 states and down for 9 states. Soybean ratings were down 7% in KS, 8% in LA,21% in MS and 7% in OH.



 Crops were growing at a steady pace last week and were looking good. However, more rain will be needed to continue this pattern in crop development.  Topsoil moisture levels across the state were rated as 16 percent short, 75 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus. Corn conditions were rated as 1 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 25 percent fair, 50 percent good, and 19 percent excellent.  Soybeans blooming progressed to 32 percent with soybean conditions rated as 2 percent very poor, 4 percent poor, 21 percent fair, 61 percent good, and 12 percent excellent.



 Mid-week storms blew some corn acreage down across several northern and central counties with some green snap also reported. However, the extent of the damage is not yet known. A considerable amount of corn acreage began to tassel during the week.  Topsoil is rated 1% very short, 5% short, 71% adequate and 23% surplus. Twenty-two percent of the corn acreage has silked compared with 76 percent last year and 39 percent for the 5-year average. Corn condition declined slightly and is rated 80 percent good to excellent compared with 8 percent last year at this time. Thirty percent of the soybean acreage is blooming compared with 61 percent last year and 36 percent for the 5-year average. Soybean condition is rated 74 percent good to excellent compared with 11 percent last year at this time.



 Dry weather continued across most of Iowa during the week ending July 14, 2013, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. The only significant precipitation was received in the north central and northeast portions of the state. Crops are beginning to need additional moisture.   The warm and dry weather led to a decline in soil moisture levels. Statewide, 65 percent of topsoil is in the adequate and surplus categories, a 23 percentage point decline from last week and 84 percent of subsoil is in the adequate and surplus categories, down 12 percentage points from last week. Five percent of the corn crop had tasseled, well behind last year’s 83 percent and the five-year average of 42 percent. Scattered reports of the corn crop beginning to silk were received. Corn condition was rated 4 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 30 percent fair, 45 percent good and 12 percent excellent. Thirteen percent of the soybean crop is blooming, lagging behind last year’s 71 percent and two weeks behind normal. Soybean condition was rated 3 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 30 percent fair, 46 percent good and 12 percent excellent.



 Most areas through central and northern Kansas received some showers last week. In addition, West Central and Southwest counties along the Colorado border received up to an inch of rain, a welcome relief to that drought-stricken area. Withering dryland corn and sorghum crops were reported in areas struggling through last week’s heat and dry conditions.   Topsoil moisture supplies rated 27 percent very short, 47 short, 25 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were 31 percent very short, 43 short, 26 adequate, and 0 surplus.  Corn silking was 33 percent, behind 70 last year and 56 average. Corn dough was 4 percent, behind 28 last year and 10 average. Corn condition rated 7 percent very poor, 15 poor, 38 fair, 36 good, and 4 excellent.   Soybeans were 21 percent blooming, behind 44 last year and 31 average. Setting pods were 2 percent, compared to 4 last year and 2 average. Condition rated 2 percent very poor, 7 poor, 45 fair, 43 good, and 3 excellent.



 A few rain showers moved through the State early in the week, but conditions quickly dried out due to the hot temperatures. The southern part of the state also received several days without rain and producers took advantage of the much needed sunshine and dry weather. Both corn and soybean conditions remain variable, dependent largely on the amount of rain received within the last month.  Corn is rated 73% good to excellent and 21% fair. 9% of it has silked.  Soybeans are 69% good to excellent and 22% fair. 44% are blooming and 8% are setting pods.



Dry weather diminished both topsoil and subsoil moisture supplies to 7 percent surplus, a reduction from last week’s 25 and 21 percent, respectively.  Corn condition increased to 63 percent good or excellent.  Ninety-six percent of the soybeans have emerged.  Five percent of the soybeans are blooming, which is 16 percentage points behind the normal pace.  Soybean conditions also improved to 63 percent good or excellent.



Topsoil moisture supply was 9 percent very short, 44 percent short, 46 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Topsoil rated short and very short increased 30 points last week. Subsoil moisture supply was 3 percent very short, 30 percent short, 66 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.  Precipitation averaged 0.24 of an inch statewide.  Corn silked was 30 percent complete, 22 days behind last year and 11 day behind normal (5-year average).  Two percent of corn was in the dough stage, 20 days behind last year and 12 days behind normal. Corn condition was 3 percent very poor, 11 percent poor, 31 percent fair, 46 percent good, and 9 percent excellent. Soybeans were 95 percent emerged, 15 days behind last year and 2 days behind normal. Soybean blooming was 7 percent complete, 17 days behind last year and 11 days behind normal. Soybean condition was 4 very poor, 9 percent poor, 34 percent fair, 47 percent good, and 6 percent excellent. Some recently planted soybeans need a rain to emerge.



Dryland crop conditions declined due to above normal temperatures and limited rainfall.  Topsoil moisture supplies declined and rated 17 percent very short, 45 short, 38 adequate, and 0 surplus.   Statewide, subsoil moisture supplies also declined and rated 28 percent very short, 41 short, 31 adequate, and 0 surplus.  All corn conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 22 fair, 54 good, and 17 excellent.  Irrigated corn conditions rated 81 percent good or excellent, compared to 78 average.  Dryland corn conditions rated 57 percent good or excellent, compared to 69 average. Corn silking was 14 percent complete, behind 67 last year and 36 average.  Soybean conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 23 fair, 59 good, and 11 excellent. Thirty-nine percent of the crop was blooming, behind 60 last year but near 40 average.  Two percent of the crop was setting pods, behind 12 last year but near 4 average.


North Dakota   

the hot temperatures are rapidly drying soils and moisture is needed in many parts of the state to aid row crop development. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 21 short, 67 adequate, and 10 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated  1 percent very short, 13 short, 76 adequate, and 10 surplus.  Corn silking was 5 percent, behind last years’ 38 and 12 average. Condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 22 fair, 57 good, and 14 excellent.  Soybean blooming was 26 percent, behind 2012 at 66 and average at 39. Condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 22 fair, 61 good, and 13 excellent.



 It rained a significant amount this week, impeding progress on harvesting of winter wheat and hay for most producers. There were reports throughout the State of flash flooding in fields.  Most producers are waiting for drier weather to finish their first or second cutting of hay, as well. Soybeans and corn are still in good condition, but there are reports of spot damage to both crops from storms this week.  Topsoil is rated 59% surplus and 40% adequate, with subsoil at 43% surplus and 55% adequate.  Corn is rated 74% good to excellent with 19% silking.  Soybeans are 67% good to excellent with 27% blooming.


South Dakota  

 timely rain in most areas of the state and above normal temperatures improved crop development last week, however, portions of western South Dakota are in need of moisture.  Topsoil moisture supplies rated 5 percent very short, 18 short, 70 adequate, and 7 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 8 percent very short, 20 short, 66 adequate, and 6 surplus.  Corn silking was 6 percent, behind 34 last year but near 9 average. Condition rated 2 percent very poor, 3 poor, 20 fair, 56 good, and 19 excellent.  Soybean blooming was 36 percent, behind last years’ 70 and 41 average. Condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 24 fair, 54 good, and 17 excellent.



Though crops were still lagging behind normal development, reporters noted that corn growth exploded this week in response to the warmth.  In spite of above normal precipitation this spring, corn was reportedly in need of rain in some areas.  Delays to fieldwork and excessive moisture earlier in the growing season have reportedly caused wide variation in crop condition and progress.  Corn was 44 inches tall on average, and 2% silking compared to the five year average of 14%. The corn is rated 77% good to excellent. Soybeans are 98% emerged and 13% are blooming with some late planting still underway. Soybeans are rated 66% good to excellent.



Except for the state of Ohio, crop reporters in all other Cornbelt states have comments about dry soils and the need for rain.  While such needs are surprising in the wake of near record rainfall, the early rains did not promote deep root growth on corn and crops are much more subject to drought stress when topsoils dry out.

Posted by Stu Ellis on 07/15 at 10:57 PM | Permalink

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