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Ripe corn with snow

Poor Weather Stalls Harvest

Even though crops are largely mature, harvest has fallen behind average due to farmers getting just what they didn’t need right now — moisture. In the week ended October 12, Iowa and South Dakota had less than a day of suitable fieldwork, Kansas had one full day and Nebraska 1.3 days.

In the 18 reporting states, 39 percent of corn has been harvested, ahead of the 35 percent average. Soybeans, however, are 15 points behind the usual 53 percent for this week. The states in our area are slightly behind on corn and significantly behind on soybeans:

CORN

SOYBEANS

Oct. 14, 2018

5-year average

Oct. 4, 2018

5-year average

Iowa

17

24

19

51

Kansas

63

64

16

33

Nebraska

25

25

39

54

South Dakota

17

21

29

65

18 States

39

35

38

53

 

USDA’s condition ratings are unchanged for corn, at 12 percent in the bottom two categories and 68 percent in the top two. Soybean ratings slipped one point on the top and gained one point on the bottom.

Sorghum is six points behind average, at 42 percent harvested. Nebraska stands at 32 percent, five ahead of average. But Kansas and South Dakota – at 19 and 21 percent respectively – are both behind nine points.

Winter wheat, at 65 percent complete in the 18 reporting states, also has slipped two points behind average. Kansas and Nebraska are each three points behind, at 62 percent and 89 percent respectively; South Dakota is eight points behind at 82 percent complete.

Better weather in the week ahead will help, at least on fields that aren’t too wet for machinery.

 

Ripe corn field with standing water

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 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 graph

crop protection network imagePlant 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.

Producers are encouraged to inspect their fields before harvest for signs of mold or mycotoxins. It’s important to work with your crop insurance agent to arrange an inspection of the field.

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.”

Early harvest in the crosshairs?

Corn

Corn continues to be ahead of schedule, with 91 percent silking and 38 percent in dough stage as of July 29, compared with 82 and 20 percent on average.

The condition is unchanged at 9 percent poor/very poor and 72 percent good/excellent, according to USDA. As the graph below shows, 2018 remains below 2014 and 2016 and if it follows their pattern, the top two categories could go either way from here. In 2014 and 2016, crop condition worsened a bit through August, while 2015 actually saw a modest improvement before sliding lower. In 2017, on the other hand, crop condition dropped and then recovered five points by harvesttime.

Soybeans

Beans in the 18 reporting states are still well ahead of normal in both blooming and setting pods, at 86 percent and 60 percent, respectively, compared with averages of 77 percent and 41 percent. All the states in our service area also are ahead of average.

Condition, right at 70 percent good/excellent in the 18 states, is a few points behind 2014 and 2016. But soybeans tend not to show large variations in condition from this point forward; based on the past four years, it is more likely to trend sideward. with small weekly adjustments, or even improve slightly.

Grain sorghum

Although the top categories of condition saw a three-point bump up this week to 52 percent, sorghum is faring poorly compared with other crops. Seventy-eight percent of Nebraska’s crop is rated good/excellent, with only 1 percent poor/very poor. South Dakota follows with 78 and 1 percent; and Kansas, 63 percent and 5 percent.

Sorghum is closer to average in progress: 4 percentage points more than  average are headed while coloring is one point behind average.

 

 

Wheat

Winter wheat harvest is over in Kansas, 89 percent complete in Nebraska and 79 percent complete in South Dakota (where, on average, it is only 57 percent complete by this time). The average for the 18 reporting states is 85 percent, one point short of average.

Spring wheat harvest already is 35 percent finished in South Dakota, against an average of 21 percent. In the six reporting states, it has reached its average level of 4 percent. Condition is rated at 78 percent good/excellent, down one point from a week ago but still well above 2014 to 2016. South Dakota’s crop is the worst listed, at 52 percent good/excellent and 10 percent poor/very poor.

 

Pasture

A look at USDA’s graph of grass condition shows continued long-term deterioration. Just 41 percent is measured as good/excellent while 29 percent falls into the bottom two categories. Kansas pasture/range is worse than the average for the 48 states, at 29 percent in the top categories and 35 in the bottom. South Dakota is rated 54 percent good/excellent and just 10 percent poor/very poor, while Nebraska continues to beat the averages by a wide margin, 71 percent good/excellent and just 8 percent poor/very poor.



Looking ahead

The Climate Prediction Center’s outlook for the remainder of the growing season is for above average temperatures. Precipitation favors below normal from the Texas Gulf through eastern Kansas and Missouri, while the remainder of the Corn Belt has equal chances for above or below normal rainfall.


Rain makes Grain

Crop progress continues to run ahead of average, although relatively low percentages have reached reproductive stage in the states we serve:

Corn silking
(2018 vs avg)
Soybeans blooming
(2018 vs avg)
Sorghum headed
(2018 vs avg)
Spring wheat headed
(2018 vs avg)
Reported states

5%

3%

12%

5%

20%

21%

34%

27%

Iowa

4

2

NA

NA

NA

NA

Kansas

13

8

7

1

4

2

NA

NA

Nebraska

2

14

6

2

1

NA

NA

South Dakota

33

18

2

3

1

67

52

 

Corn condition exceeds the past four years and soybean condition matches 2014 and 2016, both of which exceed 2015 and 2017. Note that two of the past years saw minor changes in corn and bean condition through the season and in two years it worsened considerably.

crop progress - corn 2018

crop progress - soybeans 2018

However, yields did not necessarily follow suit. Even though the condition started out lower and then worsened, the 2017 yield exceed the 2014 yields for both corn and beans.

Corn

Soybeans

Stable condition 2014 2016 2014 2016
Bu./acre 171 174.6 47.5 52
Worsening 2015 2017 2015 2017
Bu./acre 168.4 176.6 48 49.1

 

Grain Sorghum

In the 11 reporting states, 95 percent of the grain sorghum has been planted and 20 percent is heading, compared with 91 percent and 21 percent respectively. Condition is rated good/excellent for 56 percent of the crop and 12 percent poor/very poor. Conditions in the states we serve:

     Kansas: 63 percent good/excellent; 6 percent poor/very poor
     Nebraska: 83 percent; 1 percent
     South Dakota: 90 percent; 1 percent

Sunflowers

Sunflower planting is three percentage points ahead of average, at 91 percent in the four reported states. Kansas is 82 percent complete (average 77) and South Dakota is 87 percent complete (84 average).

Spring wheat

South Dakota’s spring wheat condition is worse than the six-state average — 57 percent is rated good/excellent compared with 77 percent for the six states; 10 percent is rated poor/very poor, double the six-state average.

Winter wheat

Winter wheat harvest has reached 41 percent in the 18 states, well ahead of the 33 percent average for this time of year. Due to dry weather, Kansas is 20 points ahead of average, at 52 percent. Harvest is right on average in Nebraska and South Dakota – 1 percent and zero.

Condition is 12 points behind last year at this time, with 37 percent good/excellent this year compared with 49 percent last year. This year’s bottom two ratings total 34 percent, compared with only 16 percent last year. Only 16 percent of the Kansas crop is in the top two ratings, with 46 percent in the bottom two.

Weather conditions

rainfall June 18-24 2018Recent rains have added to soil moisture. As the map from AgWeb shows, ample rains have fallen in the past week in much of our service area.

USDA reports that in the 48 contiguous states, 79 percent of corn has adequate to surplus topsoil moisture, while 26 percent are short or very short. This compares with 69 percent and 31 percent last year at this time. In Iowa, 25 percent of acres have too much water and in Nebraska, 8 percent. Kansas has the most acres – 31 percent — experiencing a water shortage  despite good rains in the last week in some areas.

The Climate Prediction Center’s six- to 10-day outlook shows a high probability of above-average temperatures but also modestly higher odds of rain than normal in most of our states.

Ripe corn field with standing water

Crop Update: Corn and soybeans continue to lag average harvested levels

Crop maturity and harvest continue to lag. In the 18 states reporting progress through October 8, corn maturity is at 82 percent, five points behind average, and 22 percent of the crop has been harvested, 15 points behind the five-year average.

In Iowa only 8 percent has been harvested, against a 28 percent average. Kansas farmers have binned only 46 percent; average is 61 percent. South Dakotans are 72 percent complete compared to an 87 percent average for this point in the season. Nebraska farmers are only 4 points behind their 87 percent average.

Eighty-nine percent of the soybean crop are dropping leaves, two points ahead of average. Harvest, however, is seven points behind average at 36 percent.

State Oct. 8 Average
Iowa 26 45
Kansas 22 21
Nebraska 23 46
South Dakota 22 59

 

Condition reports are little changed:

Corn Soybeans
State Percent Poor/very poor Percent Good/excellent Percent Poor/very poor Percent Good/excellent
Iowa 12 60 12 62
Kansas 15 56 19 46
Nebraska 12 64 12 62
South Dakota 25 40 19 51
18 states 11 64 12 61

 

While traders are focused on the lateness of the crop, farmers are perhaps more concerned about the threat of toxins that often flourish during wet harvest years. Affected grain can be heavily discounted or even rejected by buyers. For more information, view a PDF on the Iowa State University Extension website.

Grain Sorghum

Sorghum harvest is six points behind average at 35 percent complete. The Kansas crop is only 9 percent harvested compared to a 22 percent average. Nebraska is one point below its 40 percent average. And at 74 percent complete, South Dakota is four points ahead of average.

As with other crops, South Dakota a higher percentage of sorghum in the bottom of the ratings than in the top: 34 percent is poor/very poor versus 22 percent good. Kansas is rated 58 percent good/excellent and 9 percent poor/very poor while a hefty 75 percent of Nebraska’s crop is at the top end and just 5 percent is in the bottom categories.

Wheat Planting

Not surprisingly, the wet weather is holding back planting. Forty-eight percent of the winter wheat crop is in the ground, 10 points behind average. Nebraska is right on average – at 57 percent, while Kansas has only 15 percent planted compared to an average of 29 percent. A quarter of the wheat has emerged, far short of the 30 percent average.

Even though there are ample 2016 supplies on hand to satisfy short-term demand, the harvest delays could cause some issues at elevators when harvest finally does get under way. Likewise, the flow of grain via rail and barge – already impacted by weather in some cases – could see pressure, especially in those areas where bumper yields are in the field.