By Doug Schmitz
AMES, Iowa – While Indiana, Illinois and Ohio had weather conditions ripe for crop progress, Michigan fields were still in need of precipitation, according to the USDA for the week ending Aug. 21. Kentucky was experiencing some flooding.
“Conditions over most of the eastern Corn Belt are generally better than the western Corn Belt,” said Dennis Todey, USDA Midwest Climate Hub director. “While dry pockets exist, the overall dryness issues are much less serious than the western Corn Belt and Northern Plains.
“In fact, isolated heavy rainfalls (St. Louis area and eastern Kentucky) have been more of a problem leading to some flooding and wetness issues in pockets,” he added. “Crop conditions in Kentucky are much worse than other areas in the eastern Corn Belt, likely due to early drought problems.”
Justin Glisan, state climatologist for Iowa, said, “Timely rainfalls have held the crop on, but crop conditions within the drought regions as expected. A lot of burn-up corn and pastures. Farmer have started chopping silage.
“Soybeans are able to hold on longer and can put out more pods if moisture is available,” he added. “Cooler temperatures and a more active storm track has improved beans and pastures where rain has fallen.”
In Indiana, crop conditions remained stable, despite a relatively dry week, according to Nathanial Warenski, state statistician.
“Scattered rains throughout the state aided in maintaining crop conditions for some,” he said. “Corn dent progress and soybean setting pods development both continued behind their respective five-year averages. Soybean condition improved slightly from the previous week, with 55 percent of soybeans rated in good to excellent condition.”
Shaun Casteel, Purdue Extension soybean specialist, told WLFI 18 in West LaFayette Aug. 22, Indiana farmers are on track to reach record soybean yields this year, according to the USDA crop report.
“What we ended up getting in 2021 was 59.5 bushels, which was our record yield,” he said. “So, this year, if we realize 60 bushels per acre, it will be a new record.”
Warenski said some farmers reported that, due to excessive heat and lack of moisture during pollination, some of their corn was experiencing tip-back (corn ears with kernels missing at the outer end of the ear).
“Growers were also reporting some tar-spot, though it was not wide-spread,” he said. “Despite such reports, corn condition remained unchanged from the previous week, with 54 percent of corn rated in good to excellent condition. Dry conditions aided in hay harvesting with second and third cuttings of hay being taken where regrowth was adequate.”
In Illinois, corn dough reached 80 percent, compared to the five-year average of 85 percent. Corn dented reached 37 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 44 percent. Corn condition was rated 3 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 22 percent fair, 49 percent good, and 21 percent excellent.
Illinois soybeans blooming reached 95 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 97 percent, the report said. Soybeans setting pods reached 80 percent, compared to the five-year average of 87 percent. Soybean condition was rated 4 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 23 percent fair, 51 percent good, 17 percent excellent.
In Michigan, despite temperate weather and scattered rains last week, field crops are still in need of precipitation as grain fill continues, according to Marlo D. Johnson, director of the USDA Great Lakes Regional Office.
“The latest U.S. Drought Monitor continued to report the Central Lower Peninsula as abnormally dry and counties in East Central Michigan and the Thumb Region as in moderate drought,” she said. “Oat yield was reported as average, and harvest was following historical trends.
“Farmers were preparing for corn silage harvest,” she added. “Soybeans and dry beans showed stress due to the lack of soil moisture. Second cutting other hay was reported as short and some insect problems were reported with alfalfa.”
In Ohio, another week of moderate temperatures and widespread precipitation supported corn and soybeans on their way to maturity, according to Cheryl Turner, state statistician.
“Corn dough progress was 77 percent complete and corn dented progress was 23 percent complete,” she said. “Corn harvested for silage was 3 percent complete. Corn condition was rated 60 percent good to excellent.”
The state report said 59 percent of soybeans were reported as being in good to excellent condition. Oats were 96 percent harvested. Second cuttings of alfalfa hay were 97 percent complete while second cuttings of other dry hay were 83 percent complete. Third cuttings of alfalfa hay and other dry hay were 71 and 46 percent complete, respectively.
In Kentucky, 89 percent of the corn crop is in the milk stage, while 71 percent of the crop is doughing. Fifty-four percent of corn is denting at this juncture, with 2 percent of the crop mature. Corn condition remains fairly steady following drought earlier in the season.
Ninety percent of the state’s soybeans are blooming, with 74 percent of the crop setting pods. Sixteen percent of the beans in the state are coloring. Soybean condition continues to be mostly fair overall. Tobacco is 87 percent blooming at this time as 66 percent of the crop has been topped.
Todey said, “Crop development conditions are somewhat interesting in that both corn and soybean are ahead of five-year development in Michigan and Ohio (and a little in Kentucky), while other states are behind (all according to USDA NASS crop progress reports). This will come in to play looking at fall harvest conditions.”
Glisan said outlooks into fall are showing elevated chances of warmer and drier conditions across much of the Corn Belt, and short-term outlooks are hinting at near-normal temperatures and elevated chances of wetter conditions.
Todey said currently, the longer term outlooks don’t provide much indication different from near-average progress.
“Warmer and drier conditions are more likely into early September,” he said. “Earlier developing crops have lesser chance for freeze damage and a longer period to dry down in the field. For later developing crops, the risk of freeze damage does increase a little.
“But at this point, we have no specific concerns about an early freeze to cause crop damage,” he added. “We also have no indications of conditions that could cause harvest delays.