Whoever said there can’t be too much of a good thing has never endured a spring and early summer like this year’s. What started as relief after years of stubborn drought quickly eroded to major concern as fields flooded and the storms continued to march relentlessly across the wet heartland.
In the latest Crop Progress update, the USDA showed just how much damage these drenching rains have inundated crops.
Corn conditions tumble below 2014’s pace
According to the report, 68 percent of corn is in good or better condition, compared to 71 percent last week and 75 percent last year. The worst of the corn is located in Indiana, where 21 percent was reported in poor or very poor condition. Even though there was less total rainfall across the state than the week before, the Indiana Crop Progress report notes many crops were still left in standing water.
“Prolonged floods and ponding in fields prevented farmers from applying much needed nutrients to stressed and deteriorating crops which continued to bring down crop conditions,” the Great Lakes Region NASS reported here.
How bad is this situation? Purdue University Extension Economist Chris Hurt explained in a report here that torrential rains and flooding have killed off as much as 5 percent of Indiana’s corn and soybean crops and already cost the state’s agricultural economy around $300 million since the beginning of June. And he expects these losses to continue to mount over the next several weeks as rain stays in the forecast.
"We went from a well above-normal crop to a very discouraging, below-normal crop," he said during a special news briefing last week. "This was a very devastating period."
Other states showing a high percentage of corn in poor or worse condition include Missouri (17 percent), North Carolina (17 percent) and Ohio (14 percent).
With the relatively cool start to the growing season and countless bouts of rain across the Corn Belt, it comes as no surprise that corn silking is 4 percentage points behind the five-year average.
Soybean conditions even worse
The USDA also showed soybean conditions tumbling. Sixty-three percent of the country’s soybeans are in good and better condition, compared to 65 percent last week and 72 percent last year.
As mentioned above, Indiana’s soybeans are faring as poorly as its corn. Nearly 20 percent of the state’s soybeans are in poor or worse condition.
But Indiana wasn’t the only state to report a high percentage of soybeans in these conditions. Other states struggling against Mother Nature include Arkansas (12 percent), Illinois (15 percent), Louisiana (14 percent), Michigan (13 percent), Missouri (17 percent) and Ohio (16 percent).
Weather has also slowed soybean planting, with 94 percent in the ground as of June 28. However, while this is 3 percentage points behind the five-year average, it is 1 percentage point above last year’s report. Two states in particular have fallen further behind the rest of the pack – Kansas (86 percent) and Missouri (62 percent). Click here for the full Crop Progress report.
Here is some advice from Bill Wiebold with the University of Missouri on what to expect from these “ultra-late” planted soybeans.