Dry soils are dominating the USDA’s weekly crop progress reports for the Corn Belt.  And crop condition ratings are verifying the moisture stress on the crop.  Nationally, the corn crop dropped from 12 percent excellent last week to 11 percent this week.  It also dropped from 54 percent good last week to 52 percent this week.  As the overall crop rating slides downward, more is shifted into the fair and poor categories.  It is the same with soybeans.  The 9 percent that were excellent last week have fallen to 8 percent this week.  Last week, 51 percent were in good condition, but that is 48 percent this week.  And like corn, the fair and poor categories are getting larger.  Let’s take a look at state details…

In Illinois, topsoil moisture is rated at 24 percent very short, 46 percent short, 29 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus. Even with the rain, many counties are reporting signs of stress in both corn and soybeans. Corn conditions were rated at 4 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 45 percent good, and 7 percent excellent. Soybeans planted still stands at 99 percent with many farmers waiting on more moisture before they finish planting.  Soybean conditions were rated at 4 percent very poor, 10 percent poor, 39 percent fair, 43 percent good, and 4 percent excellent.

In Indiana, corn condition fell again and is now rated 37 percent good to excellent compared with 55 percent last year at this time.  Soybean condition also fell further and is now rated 32 percent good to excellent compared with 56 percent last year at this time.  Topsoil moisture is 42% very short, 43% short and only 15% adequate.

In Iowa, the past reporting week brought seasonal temperatures and welcome rainfall to Iowa. There were four episodes of widespread rainfall.  Corn conditions improved slightly for the week. Conditions for all other crops declined during the week, with the largest decreases in the northern third of the state.  Topsoil moisture levels improved to 14 percent very short, 40 percent short, 45 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.  Corn condition is reported at 2 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 25 percent fair, 51 percent good, and 16 percent excellent.  Soybean condition is rated 2 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 50 percent good, and 11 percent excellent.

Kansas producers received no break from the heat last week, though most of the State did receive some much needed rain.  Topsoil moisture supplies improved to 23 percent very short, 39 percent short, 37 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.  At 80 percent, the wheat harvest was over two weeks ahead of the previous year at 22 percent and the 5-year average at only 7 percent.  Corn continued to progress over a week ahead of normal as 10 percent of the crop was reported to be in the silking stage by Sunday, compared to only 1 percent for both the previous year and 5-year average.  The condition of the corn crop declined slightly to 3 percent very poor, 11 percent poor, 41 percent fair, 41 percent good, and 4 percent excellent.  The condition of the crop declined to 3 percent very poor, 12 percent poor, 43 percent fair, 38 percent good, and 4 percent excellent.

In Michigan,  little rain and warmer than normal temperatures began to stress crops in southern Michigan. Showers were more prevalent in northern Michigan and provided needed moisture there.  Corn is rated 9% poor, 24% fair, 50% good and 14% excellent.  Soybeans are rated 10% poor, 27% fair, 53% good and 6% excellent.  The topsoil has 26% in the very short category, 39% short and 35% adequate.  Some late planted soybeans in southern Michigan have not yet emerged due to lack of moisture. 

In Minnesota, topsoil moisture supplies improved over the previous week as widespread rains moved across the state. Topsoil moisture is rated 1% very short, 7% short, 75% adequate and 17% surplus.  Corn condition was rated 82% good to excellent and soybeans were rated 86% fair to good.

In Missouri, topsoil moisture improved but remains low at 39 percent very short, 43 percent short, 17 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.  Corn condition was 6 percent very poor, 15 percent poor, 39 percent fair, 36 percent good, and 4 percent excellent. Soybean condition was 6 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 42 percent fair, 26 percent good, and 3 percent excellent.

In Nebraska, above normal temperatures coupled with little or no precipitation across northern and western areas continued to stress crops and pastures.  Topsoil is rated 17% very short, 46% short and 36% adequate.  Corn conditions rated 7 percent poor, 31 fair, 55 good, and 7 excellent, below last year’s 75 percent good to excellent and 78 average.  Soybean conditions rated 8 percent poor, 31 fair, 55 good, and 6 excellent, below last year’s 77 percent good to excellent and 78 average.

In North Dakota, Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 2% very short, 13% short, 76% adequate, and 9% surplus.  Corn was rated 13% fair, 75% good and 9% excellent.  Soybeans were rated 2% poor 11% fair, 76% good and 11% excellent.

In Ohio, topsoil moisture was rated 31 percent very short, 46 percent short, 22 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.  The heat also hampered growth of corn, soybeans, and hay. Soybean emergence has been slow due to dry weather. Reporters commented that some areas have become too dry to replant soybeans or double crop soybeans.  Corn is rate 9% poor, 26% fair, 42% good, and 11% excellent.  Soybeans are rated 11% poor, 45% fair, 34% good, and 6% excellent.

In South Dakota, precipitation was limited and below average for most of the state. Severe storms produced many hail reports and some crop damage in various areas of the state. Reports of drying conditions continue across the state.  More than half the stations are below average for the growing season. This situation is made worse by the overall warm conditions throughout the spring and summer which removed more water from the surface by evaporation or transpiration through crops.  Topsoil moisture was rated at 50 percent in adequate to surplus, 44 percent short and 6 percent very short.  Corn is rated 4% poor, 20% fair, 59% good and 17% excellent.  Soybeans are rated 1% poor, 23% fair, 64% good, and 12% excellent.

In Wisconsin, topsoil moisture was over 70 percent short to very short in five of the nine reporting districts. Crops were stressed and development has reportedly halted in some areas due to the lack of moisture.  Corn is rated 8% poor, 26% fair, 51% good, and 12% excellent.  Soybeans are rated 8% poor, 27% fair, 53% good, and 9% excellent.

While the entire Corn Belt is short of moisture, and well behind typical averages, the lower two-thirds of the Corn Belt is abnormally drying with frequent reports of crop stress at a time of shoot development and tassel development.  Much of the early planted corn is ready to tassel, and the two week period prior to that event is important for moisture supply to corn.  The northern tier of Corn Belt states have improved moisture situations, and are reporting 60% or more of their corn in the good to excellent category.