By DOUG SCHMITZ
AMES, Iowa – Crop progress for corn and soybeans is a little slower east, while closer to average in the central and western Corn Belt, even ahead in some states, according to Dennis Todey, agricultural meteorologist and director of the USDA Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, Iowa.
“We are monitoring Ohio for crop progress delays, particularly,” he said. “We are still a long ways out. But maturity may be late enough to cause concern. Crop condition improved some this week (Aug. 7-11), with recent rains across chunks of the Corn Belt.
“Crop conditions are still weaker in the central Corn Belt from Wisconsin to Minnesota, down to Missouri,” he added. “Conditions are generally better in the eastern Corn Belt states where drought has been less of an issue.”
He said parts of southern Illinois, Missouri, and Kentucky have seen some recent flooding rains.
“The additional rain has been helpful to help reduce some of the dry conditions,” he said. “But the flooding has been a problem.”
Overall, however, he said recent rains have helped ease the crop conditions problem from the drought.
“Drought conditions have also improved a little,” he said. “But drought is still pervasive from Minnesota to Wisconsin, south across Iowa into Missouri. Except for a few days at the end of July, temperatures have been fairly moderate, helping ease some of the stress on crops.”
In Indiana, warm weather, paired with timely rainfall in the northern part of the state, allowed for excellent growing conditions the week ending Aug. 6, said State Statistician Nathanial Warenski.
Corn silking neared completion, with 64 percent of the crop rated in good to excellent condition. Over half of Indiana’s soybeans were setting pods. Soybean condition was rated 65 percent good to excellent. Cuttings of alfalfa and other hay were taken where possible.
Moreover, pasture conditions declined slightly from the previous week, with 50 percent of pastures rated in good to excellent condition. Other activities for the week included hay baling, crop disease monitoring, watermelon harvests, fungicide spraying, and roadside mowing.
In Illinois, corn dough reached 56 percent, compared to the five-year average of 57 percent. Corn dented reached 1 percent, compared to the five-year average of seven percent. Corn condition was rated five percent very poor, to eight percent excellent.
Soybeans blooming reached 93 percent, compared to the five-year average of 87 percent. Soybeans setting pods reached 73 percent, compared to the five-year average of 62 percent. Soybean condition was rated four percent very poor, to 10 percent excellent.
In Michigan, widespread rains over the reporting weekend benefited crops going into grain fill, said Marlo Johnson, USDA Great Lakes Regional Office director. As Michigan corn and soybeans began to fill ears and pods, the week ending Aug. 6, farmers were happy for the slow soaking rains received on Saturday night (Aug. 5) and Sunday after an otherwise dry week.
Wheat harvest was wrapping up, and hay producers who were recovering from the dry June welcomed the rains. In the Southeast, tart cherry harvest continued at some locations, but was mostly done for the season. Peach harvest continued, with blueberry u-picks having remained open, and growers with blackberries starting direct sales.
In Ohio, warm and dry conditions dominated across the state, said State Statistician Ben Torrance. While crop condition ratings improved, crop progress for corn and soybeans remained near or behind the five-year average for the majority of the state.
Corn silking progress reached 87 percent, and corn dough progress was 20 percent complete. Soybeans blooming was 82 percent complete, and pod setting progress reached 48 percent. Corn and soybean condition were 73, and 67 percent good to excellent, respectively.
Oats were 95 percent harvested. Second cuttings of alfalfa were 93 percent complete, and second cuttings of other hay were 67 percent complete. Third cuttings of alfalfa hay and other dry hay were 32 and 22 percent complete, respectively.
In Iowa, corn silking hit 97 percent, with 58 percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage or beyond, three days ahead of both last year and the five-year average. Sixteen percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage. Corn condition remained steady at 59 percent good to excellent.
Ninety-six percent of soybeans were blooming. Soybeans setting pods reached 75 percent. Soybean condition was 53 percent good to excellent. Oats harvested for grain reached 80 percent. Second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 97 percent complete, and the third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 51 percent complete.
In Kentucky, the week ending Aug. 6 began with very little weather activity, but this calm gave way to several rounds of storms. The western portion of the state saw very heavy rainfall and flooding was reported. Low-lying areas and bottoms received the brunt of the damage as crops are being assessed.
Eighty-nine percent of corn is silking, and corn in the milk stage is at 66 percent as 47 percent of the crop is doughing. Twenty-four percent of corn is in the dent stage. Sixty-seven percent of soybeans are blooming with 49 percent setting pods. Just two percent of soybeans are coloring at this time. The condition of both soybeans and corn remains mostly good, despite recent weather events.
In Tennessee, spotted rain showers were received throughout the week ending Aug. 6. Corn and cotton are shaping up well, though producers are cautiously watching for late season pest damage.
While the warm temperatures and rainfall have brought relief to many, some areas of western Tennessee are experiencing flooding, causing damages and loss to soybeans and other crops. Overall, crop progress is looking good and soil moisture remains adequate, with only small pockets of the northern state boundary still abnormally dry, based on the most recent state drought monitor report.
Justin Glisan, State Climatologist for Iowa, said short-term outlooks into the third week of August are showing a shift to elevated chances of warmer-than-average temperatures across the Corn Belt into the Appalachians.
“In terms of rainfall, near-normal to slightly-wetter chances are found in the western and central Corn Belt, with slightly-elevated probabilities of drier conditions through the eastern Corn Belt and Appalachians,” he said.