By Doug Schmitz
DES MOINES, Iowa – Corn and soybean progress is looking generally good from Iowa through Indiana; however, the percentage of crops that has emerged in Ohio is lagging, according to a state agricultural meteorologist.
“Isolated pockets of abnormal dryness have started to pop up in Illinois and Tennessee as a result of shorter-term precipitation deficits,” said Justin Glisan, Iowa’s state climatologist. “Drought is not found until western Iowa, where moderate to severe drought conditions have been present for several months.
“Crop planting and progress have largely caught up over areas of the Corn Belt,” he added. “In wetter spots, replanting has occurred.”
Dennis Todey, USDA Midwest Climate Hub director in Ames, Iowa, said despite planting delays due to the early season cold, wetness and cloudiness, last month’s improved weather conditions allowed for better growing progress across the Midwest and the Appalachians.
“And additional heat in May helped to push crop emergence,” he said. “There are some planting issues delayed enough that there will likely be some prevented planting in some of these states.”
However, he said outside this area to the north – the Dakotas through Minnesota – there are likely more areas that will not be planted.
“Crop progress is probably somewhat delayed right now, and something we will need to continue to watch,” he said. “Delayed development can lead to delayed maturity and harvest in the fall if cooler conditions would prevail over more of the summer.
“Right now, most planting is done,” he added. “The delays have caused problems with the usual progress, including chemical applications. Wet soils have kept some pre-emergent herbicides (from being) applied, letting some weed issues get started. Generally, they are in a wait-and-see situation.”
In Indiana, the dry, warm weather provided ideal conditions for fieldwork the week ending June 5, said State Statistician Nathanial Warenski.
“Soil moisture levels decreased from the previous week, with 89 percent of topsoil moisture reported as adequate or surplus,” he said. “Corn and soybean plantings moved closer to completion as farmers took advantage of the dry weather, with both crops progressing ahead of their five-year averages.
“The warm temperatures and adequate soil moisture benefited winter wheat growth, and winter wheat crop conditions improved slightly,” he added. “Hay harvest progressed rapidly, thanks to the favorable weather.”
Other activities for the week included fertilizer and herbicide applications, and certifying acres with the Farm Service Agency, the state’s crop report said.
In Illinois, corn planted reached 95 percent, compared to the five-year average of 89 percent, the state’s crop report said. Corn emerged reached 89 percent, compared to the five-year average of 80 percent. Corn condition was rated 1 percent poor to 15 percent excellent.
The state’s soybeans planted reached 88 percent, compared to the five-year average of 78 percent, the state’s crop report added. Soybeans emerged reached 75 percent, compared to the five-year average of 63 percent. Soybean condition was rated 2 percent poor to 14 percent excellent.
Moreover, winter wheat headed was 97 percent, compared to the five-year average of 95 percent. Winter wheat condition was rated 4 percent poor to 22 percent excellent.
In Michigan, with dry weather prevailing across much of the state, producers were able to make significant progress with planting, with 5.9 suitable days for fieldwork, said Marlo Johnson, director of the Great Lakes Regional office of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
“Chippewa and Mackinac counties were still experiencing abnormally dry weather,” she said. “The Northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula reported a couple frost advisories and a lot of wind. Emergence progress continued to be significant across all crops.
“In the Lower Peninsula, planting of corn and soybeans progressed rapidly, with very little remaining to plant,” she added. “In the Thumb Region, planting of dry beans made good progress. Alfalfa and other hay first cuttings advanced in the central- and southern-most counties.”
In Ohio, farmers rushed to plant during the previous week’s warm and sunny conditions, according to State Statistician Cheryl Turner.
“Good weather permitted farmers to make significant corn and soybean planting progress (the previous) week,” she said. “Corn was 85 percent planted, and 65 percent of corn had emerged. Soybean planting progress was 71 percent complete, while 47 percent were emerged.
“Oats were 99 percent planted and 93 percent of oats were emerged,” she added. “Crop condition for oats was reported as 68 percent good to excellent, down from the previous week. Winter wheat jointing was 99 percent and headed was 86 percent. The winter wheat crop was rated 61 percent good to excellent condition. Approximately half of first cuttings of alfalfa and other dry hay were completed.”
In Iowa, strong to severe thunderstorms on Memorial Day left scattered reports of hail and straight-line wind damage to some emerging crops in western Iowa, said Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig.
“Looking ahead, rain chances remain in the forecast, along with cooler-than-normal temperatures,” he said.
The state’s crop report said planting is almost complete, with 98 percent of the state’s corn crop planted. Eighty-seven percent has emerged, with corn condition rated 86 percent good to excellent.
Ninety-four percent of soybeans have been planted, with 69 percent emerging, the state’s crop report added. Ninety-six percent of oats has emerged, with 22 percent headed, and oat condition rated 82 percent good to excellent. Forty-two percent of the first cutting of alfalfa hay has been completed.
In Kentucky, there was strong progress in the fields, thanks to fairly dry conditions overall, the state’s crop report said. There were a couple of days with scattered showers; however, many areas stayed dry throughout the week ending June 5.
Corn planting is nearing completion as 79 percent emerged, the state’s report added. The average height of corn is 11 inches, and the crop is in good condition. Soybean planting is ahead of the five-year average for this point in the season, with 56 percent emerging.
Winter wheat condition declined slightly as 55 percent colored, the state’s report said. Quality forage has been reported as cutting continues. Moderate temperatures and occasional rain helped hay, with an increase in summer annual grasses planted for hay and pasture in some areas, the state’s report added.
In Tennessee, corn planting is nearing completion, the state’s crop report said. In West Tennessee, corn planting neared completion, while soybean planting slowed until after winter wheat harvest. Several cotton growers had to replant some acreage due to recent unfavorable weather conditions. Winter wheat harvest was expected to begin soon, and hay producers were reporting good yields on their first cutting.
In Middle Tennessee, corn farmers were finishing corn planting, the state’s crop report added. The prior week’s rains boosted row crop conditions. In East Tennessee, the recent rains also benefited row crops. Livestock producers continued to report reduced hay yields due to unfavorable spring conditions.
For the weeks ahead, Todey said warmer and drier conditions are becoming more likely getting into the latter part of June – and more so in the central to western Corn Belt.
“There is some concern of this persisting that could lead to some resurgence of drought,” he said. “Right now, that is not a guarantee, but something (that’s) being watched.”
Glisan said the short-term outlooks (the next 6-10 days and 8-14 days through June 23) show elevated to high probabilities of unseasonably warm and dry conditions across the Midwest and the Appalachians.
“With these conditions, we could see increased moisture stress on crops, as well as heat stress on livestock,” he said.