It rained before the Fourth of July, but held off for parades, picnics and fireworks. By Saturday night, it had poured so hard and so often that Mark Wise, a Kosciusko County resident, said, “It’s sure hard to make hay when it keeps raining.”
In the meantime, corn soared far higher than the proverbial “knee-high by the Fourth of July” and soybeans looked good. Mike McFarland, another Kosciusko County farmer, expressed delight that his corn was doing well and there was adequate moisture in the soil.
“So far, so good,” he said. “We’re coming into the heat of summer, which could affect pollination.”
McFarland had discussed crops with a Fulton County farmer who said the wheat yield was good in spite of torrential rains the week before last, that again turned low areas into lakes and left only 2.8 days suitable for fieldwork.
Overall, USDA’s National Agricultural Statics Service (NASS) reported 98 percent of the soybean acreage has emerged compared with 100 percent last year and 97 percent for the five-year average. It rated 75 percent of the soybean crop as good to excellent, compared with 14 percent last year at this time.
Weather conditions the last two years accounted for the difference in winter wheat – 32 percent harvested this year compared with 98 percent last year, the year of the drought. It also reflected Wise’s concern for second-cutting alfalfa: 19 percent completed this year compared with 93 percent last year.
The same variation shows in topsoil moisture, with a 34 percent surplus compared to none last year. Subsoil moisture is adequate with a 24 percent surplus, up from none last year.
By Ann Allen
Severe storms and heavy rains may slow the harvest of corn, hay and wheat. In the week ending July 7, there was one day suitable for fieldwork throughout the entire state of Ohio, according to the Great Lakes Region NASS report.
Significant amounts of rainfall throughout the state kept fieldwork to a bare minimum. “Southeastern Ohio has had more than 10 inches in the last two weeks and it has just turned fields into soggy messes,” said Breanna Pye, agriculture and natural resources education officer with The Ohio State University extension office in Noble County.
According to NASS, there were statewide reports of flooding in poorly draining fields. “There is a lot of standing water and some crops have been affected, with hay, wheat and corn having been knocked over from the heavy rains and winds,” Pye said. “The weather has not been conducive to farming at all.”
The effect of the continued and somewhat constant heavy rainfall on crops has been mixed, NASS reported. Some farmers have reported the moisture has kept crops in excellent condition, while others report negative effects.
A farmer in Marion County, north of Columbus, said a number of his cornfields were downed because of the storms. Because of the severity of those storms, he believes quite a bit of the crop was down for good and will not recover.
The rains have caused continual delays in the wheat harvest, where sprouting is becoming a concern because of the lack of dry weather. The NASS reported hayfields, like wheat, look good, but the soggy weather has delayed the harvesting schedule.
Although the majority of soybeans are thriving, some water damage has been seen because of the excess moisture.
“Many of the soybean and hay fields in the southeastern portion of Ohio have been affected by the weather,” Pye said. “It seems that nothing is getting by easily. We will see as we move into the fall, we will see how the weather truly affected the crops.”
By Jolene Craig
John Lingle tends to about 420 acres of corn and soybeans in part of what is known as the Bottoms, in southwestern Illinois near the Mississippi River. Last week, as he looked over part of his crop, he said for the first time he is feeling more confident about the potential for this season’s harvest.
“Like many others around here, where the ground is lower and doesn’t quite drain as well, I was barely able to get all of my corn in before the end of May,” Lingle said. “It was touch-and-go, but we’ve had great growing weather the past three weeks and things are looking good now.”
While temperatures overall for the week ending July 7 remained cooler than normal, they still were warm enough to help lay the foundation for rapid growth conditions, according to the NASS report.
The average growth for corn shot up 16 inches, putting its average height at 4 feet, according to NASS. While rain in some spots of southern Illinois slowed a strong wheat harvest, precipitation overall was slightly below normal for the same time period throughout the state. Topsoil moisture was rated at 74 percent adequate.
Nearly 1/10th of the state’s soybean plantings were reported to have bloomed, compared to just 2 percent the week before.
“While history shows that the later you plant, the more it can negatively impact yield totals, the most important stage of corn development remains the growing period during July and August,” said Emerson Nafziger, a crop sciences professor at the University of Illinois.
“I’d say overall, things are looking well. Some parts of the state took a lot of rain in late June, but it appears the root systems have survived well.”
NASS rated the state’s winter wheat crop at 71 percent excellent or good, and as of July 7 nearly 70 percent of it had been harvested.
By Steve Binder