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Farmers welcome necessary rain for Indiana, Iowa and Tennessee


DES MOINES, Iowa — While farmers welcomed much-needed precipitation for crops in Indiana, Iowa and Tennessee, Kentucky is still seeing torrential rain and Michigan remains in drought stress.

“Many parts of the state are welcoming the recent rain showers, as they have come during a critically important time in soybean development and should help boost yields,” said Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig.

The August 20 Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report said 85 percent of corn has reached the dough stage or beyond, with denting at 42 percent. Ninety-eight percent of soybeans bloomed, with 93 percent setting pods. Ninety-five percent of oats have been harvested for grain, and the third cutting of alfalfa hay was 66 percent complete.

In Indiana, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) State Statistician Greg Matli said continued rainfall further rejuvenated soil moisture the previous week, boosting crop development.

“The rain events in the latter half of the week provided much-needed moisture to most of the state, slightly improving soybean conditions and aiding grain fill in corn,” he explained. “Dry conditions in the beginning of the week gave farmers an opportunity to cut and bale hay, and make progress with commercial tomato and mint harvest.”

In Kentucky, farmers have seen above-normal rainfall for a third straight week, with a tropical air mass in place and storms producing torrential rainfall – at times leading to excessive accumulation.

“Corn harvest preparations have begun for some farmers,” the state’s August 20 condition report stated. “In areas of the state, fieldwork progress was hampered by scattered precipitation. Corn, soybeans, tobacco and pasture remain in mostly good condition at this juncture.”

In Michigan, spotty showers occurred in some counties of the Lower Peninsula, said Marlo Johnson, NASS Great Lakes regional office director.

“Drought stress continued to negatively impact most crop conditions,” she said. “Due to the overall lack of precipitation, leaf-rolling was a common occurrence in many cornfields. Soybeans continued to progress and set pods.

“However, spotters reported seeing spider mite damage in some fields,” she said, adding early-season apple harvest of Zestar, Paula Red and Gingergold varieties continued in the south.

In Illinois, there were 5.4 suitable fieldwork days, with precipitation averaging 1.16 inches during the week ending August 19.

“Corn dough reached 94 percent, compared to 89 percent last year,” the state’s report said. “Corn dented reached 63 percent, compared to 39 percent last year. Soybeans setting pods was at 95 percent, compared to 91 percent last year.

“Sorghum headed reached 88 percent, compared to the five-year average of 81 percent. Sorghum coloring reached 62 percent, compared to 60 percent last year.”

In Ohio, warm and wet weather with spotty rain continued for most of the state, said NASS State Statistician Cheryl Turner.

“Corn progress remained well ahead of the five-year average for dough and dent stages,” she reported. “Soybean condition improved slightly to 75 percent good to excellent. Oats were nearly all harvested by the end of the week.”

In Tennessee, rain fell over most of the state the previous week, providing needed moisture and improving crop conditions, the state’s August 20 report said.

“Scattered thundershowers have perked up soybeans in areas fortunate enough to receive rainfall,” said Weakley County Extension Agent Jeff Lannom. “Corn is finished, for the most part. Some high-moisture corn was harvested this past week, with average yields reported. Some fungicide applications are being made to double-crop soybeans.”

The report added: “Corn producers were preparing for harvest, while cotton and soybean farmers were busy, with last-minute spraying. These rains also improved pasture conditions.”

Looking further into September, Dave Samuhel, senior meteorologist, told Farm World the weather pattern will become more active – especially from the Ohio River, southward where above-normal rainfall is expected.

“Near- to below-normal rainfall is expected further north, with northern areas – Wisconsin and Michigan – the most likely to have below-normal conditions,” he explained. “This general pattern will last into October, with above-normal rainfall south and at least near-normal rainfall elsewhere. Temperatures are expected to be a little above normal, as well.”

He noted the threat for an early frost across the area is rather low. “The average first 32-degree temperatures occur in early October across the crop areas of Wisconsin and Michigan. Towards I-70, the average day is about October 15. In Tennessee, it is usually the last week of October.”