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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.

 

Ripening corn

Combines – and planters – rolling

A string of clear weather days jump-started harvest. In the 18 reporting states, 16 percent of corn and 14 percent of soybeans are combined, compared to 11 percent and 8 percent on average.

All of the states in our service area are ahead of average in development and harvest:

Corn dented Corn mature Corn harvested
Sept 24 Average Sept 24 Average Sept 24 Average
Iowa 97 94 74 51 5 3
Kansas 98 96 80 69 30 27
Nebraska 98 96 69 53 9 6
South Dakota 98 92 67 43 5 3
18 States 97 93 72 53 16 11

 

Corn condition continues favorable, with the 18-state rating improving one point in the top categories to 69 percent and the bottom two unchanged at 12 percent. The rain was too late to boost the Kansas crop into better-than-half good/excellent; it stands are 47 percent, while 26 percent falls in the bottom categories. South Dakota is slightly below average, at 63 percent good/excellent and 18 percent poor/very poor. Both Iowa and Nebraska are above average.

Soybean progress and harvest also are ahead of average, by a wide margin in some states.

Dropping leaves Harvested Condition
Sept 24 Average Sept 24 Average Good/excellent Poor/very poor
Iowa 72 49 8 3 22 7
Kansas 49 43 2 2 60 10
Nebraska 84 69 13 6 83 6
South Dakota 83 74 12 6 61 15
18 States 71 57 14 8 68 10

 

Grain sorghum’s progress is closer to average, and more of a mixed bag, with several measures behind average.

Coloring Mature Harvested
Sept 24 Average Sept 24 Average Sept 24 Average
Kansas 93 90 32 33 6 6
Nebraska 95 97 48 41 6 4
South Dakota 85 90 24 35 1 4
18 States 94 90 50 53 30 32

 

Condition is better than average in our service area. Nebraska is rated 84 percent good/excellent and 2 percent poor/very poor compared to the 11-state average of 55 percent and 2 percent; Kansas is 71 percent and 7 percent; and South Dakota, 67 percent and 5 percent.

Winter wheat planting

Even as corn and soybeans are coming out of the field, 28 percent of the winter wheat crop is planted, two points ahead of average. Kansas farmers have 21 percent in, compared with 16 on average; Nebraska is three points behind average at 53 percent; and South Dakota is six points ahead of average at 53 percent.

Rains have helped Kansas pasture and range condition, which has reached 50 percent good/excellent. That compares with only 29 percent at the start of August. However, 17 percent remains in poor or very poor condition.

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.

corn young closeup

Healthy Corn Equals Happy Farmers

With 94 percent of the corn emerged, USDA rates the condition in the 18 states it reports at 77 percent good/excellent and jut 4 percent poor/very poor. Emergence is 2 to 6 percent ahead of average in our service states and good/excellent ratings range from 60 in Kansas to 86 in Nebraska, while the bottom categories range from 1 percent (Nebraska) to 7 percent (Kansas). The worst crop seems to be in Texas, where 19 percent is in the bottom categories, followed by North Carolina and Missouri, with 17 and 14 respectively in poor/very poor condition.

Soybeans are now 93 percent planted, compared with an average 85 percent. Kansas, at 89 percent complete, is 22 points ahead of average; the other states in our service area all are ahead of average and all are at least 96 percent finished. Emergence also is considerably ahead, at 83 percent vs. an average 69 percent in the 18 states.

USDA rates soybean condition at 74 percent good/excellent and just 4 percent poor/very poor. Kansas ranks lowest in our service area, at 56 percent good/excellent and 6 percent poor/very poor. Nebraska’s crop holds the top spot — 87 percent in the top categories and only 1 percent in the bottom categories.

Grain Sorghum

As with the other crops, sorghum planting is ahead of schedule, at 80 percent planted and 16 percent headed, compared with 68 percent and 12 percent on average. Half the sorghum crop is rated good/excellent in the 11 reported states. Nebraska and South Dakota sorghum is rated 87 and 88 percent in the top categories with none rated poor/very poor. Kansas ratings are 57 percent in the top categories and 3 percent in the bottom.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers are 12 points ahead of the 60 percent average plantings for this time of year in the four reported states. Kansas, at 53 percent, and South Dakota, at 64 percent, are both 15 points ahead of average.

Spring wheat

South Dakota’s spring wheat has emerged and 43 percent is rated good/excellent compared to 9 percent poor/very poor. That is the worst rating of the six reporting states, which average 70 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

Winter wheat

Fourteen percent of the winter wheat had been harvested at the start of the week, 4 points ahead of average. The states in our service area are right on their averages.

Condition is rated 38 percent good/excellent and 35 percent poor/very poor in the 18 states USDA assesses. Almost half of the Kansas crop – 47 percent – is in the lowest two categories and only 16 percent is good/excellent.

Moisture

The long-term Palmer Drought Index as of June 9 shows a few moist areas but continued drought in the Southwest and Kansas. This explains the poor ratings and stressed crops in parts of our service region.

palmer drought index - June 2018

A look at the short-term need vs. available water shows most of the Corn Belt in a mostly balanced situation as of June 9, indicating crops may be getting by in the short term. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration does note that this may not apply to seeds still in the germination phase, when roots are not yet well developed.

crop moisture index by division - June 9 2018

Farmer with tractor seeding

Full Speed Ahead?

Corn planting has progressed to 62 percent in the 18 reported states, just one point behind average. Most of the states in our service have nearly caught up – or even surpassed – average planting progress, with Iowa at 65 percent, five points behind average; Kansas at 68 percent, five points ahead of average; and Nebraska at 72 percent, two points ahead of average. South Dakota, however, still lags at only 12 percent complete — or 40 points behind average.

Soybeans are nine points ahead of average for the 18 states, at 35 percent complete. Iowa, at 33 percent, is five points ahead; Kansas, at 31 percent is 18 points ahead; Nebraska stands at 41 percent complete, 12 points ahead. Again, South Dakota is well behind its normal pace of 22 percent, with only 4 percent complete.

Emergence for both corn and soybeans follows much the same pattern. Grain sorghum in Kansas is right on average, at 3 percent, while Nebraska farmers have seeded 17 percent against a 14 percent average.

Kansas has continued to miss rain events, the result of which is winter wheat rated at 51 percent poor/very poor and just 15 percent good/excellent. Forty-two percent has emerged compared with 62 percent on average. In Nebraska, by comparison, winter wheat is 64 percent good/very good and 7 percent poor/very poor. Only 1 percent has emerged, compared with a 15 percent average.

Neutral weather?

The Crop Moisture Index from the U.S. Drought Portal (map) indicates much of the Ohio Valley has excess moisture at this time, and forecasts suggest more will fall during the next week.

crop moisture

Longer term, the La Nina that fostered the drought in the Southwest has faded and neutral sea-surface temperatures are expected to last through the summer, according to the Climate Prediction Center (CPC). As a result, seasonal forecasts from the CPC point to equal chances of above or below normal temperatures and rainfall in most of the Corn Belt during the growing season.

temperature May-October 2018

precipitation May-October 2018
It is early in the season, but at this point, based on the current conditions and long-range outlooks, the 174-bu. corn yield and 48.5-bu. soybean yield USDA used in its May 10 world supply and demand estimates certainly appear possible.