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Crop Conditions

2014 Likely To Be A Late Spring

It appears that 2014 will likely be similar to 2013, with a later than normal initiation of Spring fieldwork in many areas of the Upper Midwest. This year, we are not likely to see much full-scale field work in much of Southern Minnesota until after April 20, and it will probably be late April or early May before a significant amount of corn is planted. Soil temperatures are still well below minimal acceptable levels for planting corn, and there is still a considerable amount of frost in the ground in most areas. Some portions of Central Minnesota still have significant snow cover to melt. As recently as 2012, most farmers in Southern Minnesota and Iowa began full-scale field work during the week of April 10-17, with most of the corn being planted by the end of April.  [ read more ... ]

 

2013 Ag Review (Part 1)

As we reach the end of the year, it is a good time to reflect on what happened agriculturally in the region and across the United States in 2013. This will be the first of a two-part article, with a review of 2013 crop production and weather conditions this week, and a review of livestock production, input costs, grain prices and the overall farm economy next week. Following are some highlights regarding crop production and weather conditions for 2013 ……  [ read more ... ]

 

Harvest Progressing Nicely

The Fall harvest season started a bit later than normal in 2013, but has been progressing at a fairly nice pace in recent weeks across the region. Following above normal temperatures through most of September and early October, it appears that late October will feature much cooler temperatures, which should not impact harvest progress. Many areas have also received some beneficial rainfall in recent weeks, which has only caused minor delays in harvest progress, due to the very dry soil conditions that existed prior to harvest. [ read more ... ]

 

Harvest Season Underway

Above normal temperatures during the month of September in most of Minnesota has allowed the 2013 corn and soybean crop in many areas to either reach maturity, or be very close to maturity, by month’s end. Most of the early-planted corn hybrids have now reached physiological maturity and are drying down, while some later planted corn may need a bit more time to reach desired kernel moisture content for harvest. Most soybeans are now turning color and dropping leaves, with full-scale soybean harvest beginning in portions of Southern and Western Minnesota. [ read more ]

 

Knee-High Corn by July 4

For generations, the standard measure for corn growth was “knee-high by July 4th, which meant that the corn plant should be able to produce a crop for that year. Of course, most farmers a couple of generations ago had much lower yield goals for their corn than the farmers of today. Today, “waist-high” or higher corn by July 4th is a more typical, and has resulted in some very good corn yields in most areas in recent years. It is difficult to get exceptional corn yields in the Southern half of Minnesota, if corn is only “knee-high” or smaller on July 4th. [ read more ... ]

 

Focus Shifts To Soybean Planting

The cool, wet weather conditions continued during the week of June 3-9 across the areas of Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa, which have been hardest hit with delayed corn and soybean planting in 2013. There was some limited corn and soybean planting completed in wettest areas of Southeast Minnesota and Northeast Iowa, while planting progress was more prevalent in South Central and Southwest Minnesota, and adjoining areas of Iowa. Most of the planting focus has now switched from unplanted corn acres to the unplanted soybean acres. [ read more ... ]

 

Corn Planting Progress

If you ask someone: “How much corn is planted, or how much Spring fieldwork has occurred in your area ?”, the response is likely to be quite different, depending on where the person resides. A major snowfall event in early May, followed by frequent rainfall events throughout most of May, in the eastern half of Southern Minnesota, as well as adjoining areas of Northern Iowa, has caused significant delays in corn planting. Most of this region has received additional rainfall amounts of 1-2 inches over this past weekend, with substantially more rainfall in some areas, on soils that were already saturated. As a result, less than half of the intended corn acres in this region have been planted as of May 20, with very few soybeans being planted. [ read more ... ]

 

Spring Fieldwork Waiting To Begin

Like the start of a big race, or the beginning of a championship game, farmers in Minnesota and Iowa are anxiously awaiting the initiation of full-scale field work. Very cool temperatures and moist soil conditions have existed across the region during most of the month of April, resulting in cold soil temperatures and soil conditions which have not been conducive to the initiation of corn planting in Minnesota and Iowa. A few farm operators have planted some peas and small grain crops in isolated locations in recent days; however, in most areas, soil conditions have remained too cold and wet to begin full-scale Spring fieldwork. [ read more ... ]

 

What A Difference A Year Makes

In 2012, most farmers in Southern Minnesota and Iowa began full-scale field work during the week of April 10-17, with most of the corn being planted by the end of April. By comparison in 2013, we are not likely to see much full-scale field work across the region until after April 15, and we are probably a couple a weeks away, at a minimum, from seeing a significant amount of corn being planted. Soil temperatures are still well below minimal acceptable levels for planting corn, and there is still a considerable amount of frost in the ground in many areas. Some portions of Southeast and Central Minnesota still have sinficant snow cover to melt. [ read more ... ]

 

2012 Harvest Progress

Corn and soybean harvest is progressing at a very rapid rate in most portions of Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa, as a result of almost perfect harvest conditions. As of September 21, harvest progress for both corn and soybeans was at 25-50 percent completed in much of South Central and Southwest Minnesota. This level of harvest progress is more typical of mid-late October than late September. Most of the crops have matured beyond any potential damage from a killing frost. [ read more ... ]

 

2012 Corn Harvest Underway

The very warm growing season this year has pushed the 2012 corn crop very rapidly toward maturity. Corn harvest has begun in many areas of South Central and Southwest Minnesota. The corn moisture content is in the 20-25 percent range on early planted corn, which is more typical of early October conditions. Corn yields in 2012 are expected to be quite variable across Southern Minnesota, depending on timely rainfalls, soil types, planting date, and corn hybrids. So far, the early corn yields in many areas have been pleasantly surprising, considering the extremely dry conditions that existed throughout most of July and August across the region. [ read more ... ]

 

2012 Drought Being Compared to 1988

Ask most current farmers over 40 years old in the Upper Midwest about the worst drought that they remember, and 1988 would be a common response. However, that could potentially change after this year, as the drought in many areas of the Midwest in 2012 is setting up to be quite severe. Large portions of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Missouri and other States are indicating potential for major crop losses, while growing areas of Nebraska, Minnesota, and South Dakota are facing serious extended dryness that could lower crop yields.  [ read more ... ]

 

Head-High Corn By July 4

For generations, the standard measure for corn growth was “knee-high by July 4th, which meant that the corn plant should be able to produce a crop for that year. Of course, most farmers a couple of generations ago had much lower yield goals for their corn than the farmers of today. Today, “waist-shoulder high” corn by July 4th is a more typical, and has resulted in some very good corn yields in most areas in recent years. It is difficult to get exceptional corn yields in the Southern half of Minnesota or in Iowa, if corn is only “knee-high” or smaller on July 4th[ read more ... ]

 

Crops Progress Rapidly

Overall, crop conditions across most of the Southern two-thirds of Minnesota have improved considerably in the past couple of weeks. In late May, many areas of Southwest, South Central, and Central Minnesota were impacted by excessive rainfall, severe storms, and some crop emergence problems; however, much of the crop has now recovered. There were some locations that had severe storms again in the past week with strong winds, hail, and heavy rainfalls, with portions of Southeastern Minnesota being impacted most significantly. [ read more ... ]

 

Farmers Face Replant Decisions

Growing conditions for corn and soybeans are quite variable across Minnesota. In South Central Minnesota most of the corn and soybeans were planted by mid-May and have emerged, with some of the early planted corn being 12-15 inches tall by the beginning of June, but most corn being somewhat smaller. Overall the warmer and wetter conditions that existed in May across the State have been quite favorable for crop development; however, many locations have been impacted by excessive heavy rainfall events and severe storms during the month. [ read more ... ]

 

Excess Rainfall In Some Areas

Some areas of Southern and Central Minnesota received excessive rainfall on May 23and 24, plus additional rainfall on May 26 and 27,  which caused some crop damage due to standing water in fields. Most of the region received 2-3 inches of rain, with several locations receiving 3-5 inches or more of rainfall in a 24-hour period. In addition to the heavy rainfall amounts, some areas also were impacted by hail damage to newly emerged crops, and by strong winds, which caused some property damage. Fortunately most of the property damage was fairly isolated in nature. [ read more ... ]

 

Planting Nearly Complete

Across Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa, nearly all the intended corn is planted, and over 90 percent of the soybeans were planted as of May 18. Most of the corn and many of the soybeans that are planted in this region have emerged, and stands look fairly good. However, strong winds on May 17 and 18 in Southern and Western Minnesota caused considerable blowing dirt, which did cause some crop damage to newly emerged corn and soybeans. In addition, the intense thunderstorms during the first week of May caused considerable soil crusting in some areas, which has lead to emergence problems for corn and soybeans that were just planted prior to the heavy rainfall events. In the most severe locations, portions of fields were replanted due to the soil crusting, as well as due to drown-out damage in low areas of fields resulting from excess rainfall. [ read more ... ]

Too Much Rain

It’s hard to believe that in less than a ten day time period we can go from concerns over drought to excess rainfall, which is causing flooded fields in some areas. That is exactly what has happened dung the last few days of April and the first week of May in some parts of Southern Minnesota. Much of the rain came as part of intense thunderstorms with heavy downpours that caused some flash flooding, and featured strong winds and large hail in some areas. The wind and hail did cause some isolated building and property damage in rural areas, but had very minimal impact on the newly planted crops. [ read more ... ]

 

Corn Planting Progresses Rapidly

The corn crop in Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa is being planted in very rapid fashion when soil conditions are fit for planting. During a 4-day period from April 24-27, nearly ideal planting weather resulted in a large amount of corn being planted in most portions of South Central Minnesota. Crop experts have estimated that as much as 15 percent of the corn raised in a given area can be planted in one day, when field and soil conditions are at optimal levels, such as they were during that 4-day period. As of April 27, it was estimated that 50-65 percent of the 2012 corn crop has been planted at many locations in Southern Minnesota. Some producers have finished their corn planting, and are now waiting a bit to begin planting soybeans, hoping for a bit warmer soil temperatures. Soybeans can be planted up until about May 20-25 in order to maintain optimum yield potential. In general, soybean yields are much less sensitive to planting dates than corn. [read more ... ]

 

Early Corn Planting

Like the start of a big race, or the beginning of a Championship game, farmers in Southern Minnesota and Iowa are likely to begin the initiation of full-scale field work on April 11, or shortly after. April 11 is the earliest corn planting date allowed by the USDA Risk management Agency (RMA), in order to maintain full crop insurance replant coverage on the 2012 crop. Corn planted prior to April 11 is not eligible for replant coverage, if the crop is damaged by frost, heavy rains, or hail damage; however, the crop is still insured with full crop insurance coverage, as long as the producer follows all other crop insurance requirements. The earliest planting date for soybeans in Southern Minnesota and Iowa is April 21. [ read more ... ]

Early Start To Spring

During March, several all-time record temperatures have been set in Minnesota and Iowa. At the University of Minnesota Research Center at Waseca, the 2012 high temperature hit 79 degrees four straight days from March 17-20, and set seven record March high temperatures by March 21. [ read more ... ]