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Season Ends Much as It Started: Wet

Soggy conditions have slowed field work and narrowed the gap between this year’s progress and the five-year average. Days suitable for field work in the week ended October 7 ranged from 1.6 in Iowa to 1.9 in South Dakota, 3.2 in Nebraska and 4.6 in Kansas.

Corn harvest progressed to 34 percent, compared with 26 percent on average in the 18 states and soybeans, at 32 percent, trailed the average by four points.

Oct. 7, 2018

CORN

SOYBEANS

 

Percent harvested

Points gained in week

Average

Percent harvested

Points gained in week

Average

Iowa

15

4

13

18

3

31

Kansas

59

12

52

14

7

19

Nebraska

23

6

6

36

9

33

South Dakota

16

5

5

28

7

41

 

Corn and soybean condition in the 18 states was unchanged other than a loss of one percentage point on the high end for corn. Corn was rated 12 percent poor/very poor and 68 percent good/excellent; soybeans, 10 percent and 68 percent.

Sorghum harvest is complete in Kansas (equal to average), 23 percent complete in Nebraska (16 percent average), and two points behind average in South Dakota at 16 percent.

Soggy soils

Just as farmers were frustrated by wet fields at the start of planting, they are experiencing similar difficulties at harvest. The map below from the Climate Prediction Center shows soil moisture in large portions of the Corn Belt and our service area are 40 to 160 millimeters above normal.

Calculated soil moisture anomoly

 

Plant diseases related to moisture, including northern corn leaf blight, gray leaf spot and tar spot, as well as Fusarium and Gibberella ear rots, are a concern in high-moisture areas. Lodged corn is at particular risk for developing mycotoxins.

crop protection networkBryce Fuhrman, our vice president of related services in northeast Iowa, said he hasn’t heard of widespread disease so far. But vigilance is important.

“We encourage our customers to really inspect their fields before harvest,” Fuhrman said. “If there are signs of mold or mycotoxins, it’s important that we contact the crop insurance companies and turn in a notice of loss or noticed damage so these fields can be inspected.”

“There are certain thresholds of these toxins that are unacceptable to grain facilities,” he added. “If this is the case, the customer or producer will need to find some sort of salvage buyer to buy that grain, which could put them in a pinch.”

RMA has requirements regarding sampling practices. Your FCSAmerica insurance officer can fill you in on those as help you with your quality loss claim.

For those cutting silage, concerns caused by early plant maturity combined with inability to get into soggy fields go beyond mold and mycotoxins, which can develop and grow in storage. These include:

  • Higher dry matter silage: If dry matter is more than 40 percent, the digestibility of fiber and starch are reduced;
  • Less dense packing and greater oxygen content

South Dakota State University Extension offers the tips to improve results.

Looking ahead, an El Nino is likely in the weeks and months ahead. That points to a warmer than average winter in our service area. The Southwest and Southern Plains could see above normal precipitation. So much so in fact that during a webinar for our customers, Mike Murphy of Cattlefax predicted soil moisture in Texas and Oklahoma “could be fine by next spring.”

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FCSAmerica serves farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and rural residents in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. For inquiries outside this geography, use the Farm Credit Association Locator  to contact your local office.