Crops were developing steadily during the week of Aug. 5, although soybean development slowed as farmers waited for a decent rainfall, according to the weekly weather and crop report from the Illinois field office of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
“Weather continues to be favorable for U.S. crops but traders are beginning to worry about the maturity progress. Producers from all across the Corn Belt are sharing their stories about what an early frost would do to their production,” said Paul Georgy, president and CEO of Allendale, Inc. in McHenry.
“Spring wheat producers are running about two weeks behind in harvest, with some now worried about quality problems. The 2013 weather market is now beginning Phase Three.”
Temperatures across the state averaged 69.7 degrees for the week. 4.4 degrees below normal, allowing 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture was rated at 2 percent very short, 23 percent short, 73 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus.
Corn conditions were rated 1 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 22 percent fair, 48 percent good and 24 percent excellent. Soybeans blooming progressed to 81 percent, with 58 percent rated good and 16 percent rated excellent.
Oats are 88 percent ripe and 74 percent harvested. About 91 percent of the alfalfa hayfields are on the second cutting and 13 percent are on the third cutting.
Activities included spraying fungicide, mowing pastures and roadsides and maintaining irrigation.
“It has the potential for being very good,” Randy Smith said, as he pointed out a field of corn standing a good seven feet tall in northern Miami County. “But we’ll just have to wait and see.
“Corn needs a lot of rain and sun, and we’ve had plenty of both lately. However, we just haven’t had the heat that makes good corn. Maybe we’ll get it later, but the past few weeks have been a lot cooler than normal.
“One thing about it,” he added, “if a field got drowned out early in the year, there wasn’t any need to replant it because the rains kept coming and drowning out those spots all over again.”
Smith’s field is part of the 97.4 million acres of corn planted in the United States this year – the highest acreage since 1936, according to NASS. The Indiana field office of NASS estimates 93 percent is silked and 13 percent is in the dough stage. Overall, it is rated 76 percent good to excellent, compared with 7 percent at this time during last year’s drought.
The younger set has enjoyed watching planes swooping low this summer, as aerial fungicide applications are made to corn and soybean fields. Soybean condition is rated 76 percent good to excellent, compared with 15 percent last year. As of Aug. 5, 84 percent of the crop was blooming and 55 percent was setting pods.
American farmers planted 77.7 million acres of soybeans this season, up 1 percent from last year.
Additionally, hay crops and pastures are in very good condition for this time of year, according to NASS.
In addition to fairs and family school vacation time, major farming activities have included cutting hay, scouting crop fields for insects, applying herbicides, monitoring irrigation systems, mowing roadsides and taking care of livestock.
By Ann Allen
The weather throughout Ohio was conducive to farming the week ending Aug. 4, according to NASS of the Great Lakes region.
“We have a lot of great-looking fields, and a lot that aren’t doing well because of the weather,” said Chris Penrose, an educator with Ohio State University Morgan County extension.
According to NASS, five days that week were suitable for fieldwork in the state, while scattered showers and cooler temperatures moved through the region. These lower-than-average temperatures concerned some growers because of the possible lack of crops development.
Penrose said the increased rainfall and high winds that have affected south-central Ohio this summer have damaged many fields and their crops. “There is a wide variation of how fields in Morgan County look,” he said.
“Some fields were hit by floods and were severely damaged or destroyed, and other fields were hit by winds that flattened the corn. While some fields are in poor shape, others are in excellent shape,” Penrose added.
The slowing of crops’ growth because of lower temperatures, added with the fact many were planted later than usual, has many farmers hoping for a later-than-normal frost, NASS stated.
Corn is the one plant that has benefited the most from the large rainfall, but, like other crops, is experiencing slow development from the cooler temperatures. Many other crop harvests have begun and several are already completed, with wheat harvest having finished in the last couple of weeks, according to NASS.
Due to the rainfall in the past couple of weeks, little straw and hay were baled. Wheat growers have applied manure and lime to harvested fields. Pasture and hay conditions continue to excel, but of the two completed cuttings, neither has yet to be a dry harvest because of the wet conditions.
“Second-cuttings are having yields well below expected and we think that can be attributed to last year’s drought,” Penrose said. “Because of everything the weather has thrown us, we just have to wait and see what happens.”
Vegetable farmers have been negatively affected by the overabundance of rainfall, although harvests of sweet corn, cabbage and tomatoes continue.
In July, grower Tom Witten with Witten Family Farms in Washington County said he was pleased with the rains, which in the early part of July had already exceeded the amount of rainfall from the entire 2012 growing season.
“Given time, things will work out and crops will come back,” Penrose added.
By Jolene Craig