By KEVIN WALKER
DETROIT, Mich. — For the past 2-3 weeks the weather focus nationally has been on hurricanes; however, the effect of the string of large storms on the Corn Belt has been minimal.
Wildfires in the West have are also receiving attention, said Chris Betts of Michigan Ag Commodities in a Sept. 7 report. Despite all the dramatic weather, grain markets are “feeling little support, however, as the belt has been largely unaffected,” he said. “Weather continues to be cooler, and drier than norms with warmer forecasts in sight. Frost concerns with low overnight temps haven’t come to fruition thus far.”
As of Sept. 7 there were three active hurricanes; the last time that happened was 2010, said meteorologist Bill Steffen of WOOD-TV 8 in Grand Rapids in a Sept. 7 report. Hurricane Jose was followingIrma on a slightly more northerly track, Steffen stated. It may briefly reach strong category 2 or weak category 3 status before starting to weaken.
“It may bring a period of gusty winds and rain to the Northern Antilles, before moving northwest and then north,” he wrote. “The projected path of the storm will keep any strong winds well offshore of the U.S.”
According to the USDA’s latest weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin – for the week ending Sept. 3 – warm weather covered the majority of the West, with temperatures climbing to more than 12 degrees F. above normal in parts of California and Oregon during the week. Conversely, the remainder of the nation experienced below-normal temperatures.
Nationally, by week’s end 92 percent of the nation’s corn had reached the dough stage, 3 percentage points behind last year and 2 points behind the five-year average, the report said. 60 percent of the corn was at or beyond the dent stage by Sept. 3, 14 percentage points behind last year and 8 points behind the fiveyear average. 14 of the 18 estimating states reported double-digit advances in the percentage of crop dented during the week.
Of this year’s corn crop, 12 percent was reported to be mature by Sept. 3, 5 percentage points behind last year and 6 points behind the five-year average, the report said. Corn maturity was at, or behind, the respective five-year averages in all estimating states except Kentucky and Tennessee. Overall, 61 percent of the corn was reported in good to excellent condition, down slightly from the previous week and 13 percentage points below the same time last year.
For soybeans, 97 percent of the nation’s soybean crop was at or beyond the pod-setting stage by week’s end, the report said. This was equal to last year but slightly ahead of the five-year average.
Pod setting was at least 90 percent complete in all soybean estimating states except Kentucky and North Carolina. By Sept. 3, leaf drop had advanced to 11 percent complete, equal to last year but slightly behind the five-year average.
Overall, 61 percent of the soybean crop was reported in good to excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week but 12 percentage points below the same time last year.
According to the report, by Sept. 3 Illinois was at 96 percent dough stage; Indiana, 94 percent; Kentucky, 92 percent; Michigan, 79 percent; Ohio, 91 percent; and Tennessee, 98 percent. All of these were behind their five-year averages except Kentucky.
For corn maturity, Illinois was at 13 percent by Sept. 3; Indiana, 13 percent; Kentucky, 52 percent; Michigan, 1 percent; Ohio, 7 percent; and Tennessee, 60 percent. Only Kentucky and Tennessee were ahead of their five-year averages. According to the report, soybeans setting pods in Illinois was 100 percent by Sept. 3; Indiana, 96 percent; Kentucky, 86 percent; Michigan, 94 percent; Ohio, 97 percent; and Tennessee, 94 percent.
All of these were behind their five-year averages except Tennessee and Illinois. For soybeans dropping leaves, Illinois was at 3 percent by Sepr 3; Indiana, 13 percent; Kentucky, 11 percent; Michigan, 10 percent; Ohio, 7 percent; and Tennessee, 12 percent.
According to the USDA’s latest crop progress and condition report for Michigan, apple growers reported that fruit size has been average or a bit small where irrigation was not present, but overall fruit quality has been good, and apples have taken on size in the previous two weeks. Cooler nights have helped to add color to maturing apples.
The apple harvest is staggered depending on variety. Blueberry harvest was ending in the Southwest part of the state; harvest was expected to continue in counties farther north for a few more weeks.