USDA reports that, as of July 19, in the 18 reporting states, crops are making good progress and in good condition. Fifty-five percent of corn is silking, with 69 percent in good/excellent condition and poor/very poor unchanged at 9 percent, unchanged from the prior week. Fifty-six percent of soybeans are blooming and 17 percent (equal to average) are setting pods. Soybean condition also is unchanged, with 62 percent good/excellent and 11 percent poor/very poor.
With 56 percent of the Iowa corn crop now in the silking stage, it has entered the critical period for moisture and temperature. According to USDA’s reporting office in Des Moines, hot and humid weather throughout the state aided crop development for the week ending July 19, 2015. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 3.3 degrees above normal, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Statewide, there were 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork, which included corn fungicide application.
Topsoil and subsoil moisture readings continue heavily weighted to the positive side: Topsoil is rated as adequate on 79 percent of acres and subsoil, 78 percent. Surplus moisture exists on 17 percent of topsoil and 18 percent of subsoils. Statewide, only 4 percent is dry at either depth.
Iowa corn condition is rated only 3 percent poor, 14 percent fair, 60 percent good and 23 percent excellent. Soybeans, of which 62 percent are blooming, are rated 1 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 19 percent fair, 60 percent good and 17 percent excellent.
Temperatures in Nebraska also averaged 2-3 degrees above normal. Rainfall was widespread, with 2” or more falling in the central and northeast portions of the state, but there were 5.9 days suitable for field work. The hot, humid conditions continued to boost crop development but stressed livestock.
Corn silking is at 63 percent, ahead of 59 percent last year and 57 percent on average. Corn condition is rated 6 percent poor/very poor, 21 percent, 57 percent good and 16 percent excellent.
Soybean condition about matches that of corn: poor/very poor, 6 percent; fair, 22 percent; good, 57 percent and excellent 15 percent.
Above average temperatures in the state continued to advance crop development and mainly rain-free days provided 6.5 days suitable for field work before severe storms moved through the state on Friday. This state is somewhat drier than Iowa and Nebraska, with topsoil and subsoil moisture short/very short on 28 percent of acres. Seventy percent of acres have adequate moisture and only 2 percent, surplus.
Corn silking, at 43 percent, is well ahead of the 27 percent average and 76 percent is rated good/excellent, while 5 percent is poor/very poor. Soybeans are rated 77 good/excellent and only 4 percent poor/very poor.
Cool and dry weather dominated Wyoming in the week ended July 19. Only 14 percent of corn is silking, but that’s 10 points ahead of average. Almost the entire week was suitable for field work. Topsoil moisture is better than the five-year average at 78 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus versus 50 percent and 6 percent. The same is true of subsoil moisture: 84 percent adequate, 1 percent surplus against 59 percent and 1 percent on average.
All in all, weather is expected to be generally favorable: The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s 8-14 day outlook is for normal temperatures and above or near-normal rainfall in these states. Heading into August, odds favor below normal temperatures in Iowa and Nebraska; equal chances of below normal, normal or above normal in South Dakota and Wyoming. Odds favor above normal rainfall in three of the states; only South Dakota has no tendency one way or the other.
Crop insurance matters
If your crop suffers damage from storms or other factors, let your crop insurance agent know as soon as possible. Keep on top of needed crop protection and scout regularly. Reports of disease pressure are widespread and one agronomist told Farm Credit Services of America, he’s “never seen so many planes flying over fields.”