Crop Conditions Fairly Good Across Region

After an almost perfect planting season through late April and early May in most of the Upper Midwest, a few more crop challenges have occurred in the past couple of weeks. Heavy rains from May 14-17 lead to standing water and some drown-out crop damage in portions of Western and Central Minnesota, as well as some hail damage. This was followed by some frost damage in portions of the region on the mornings of May 19 and 20. Most areas have now received adequate rainfall to alleviate dry top soil conditions; however, sub-soil moisture still remains very short in some locations.

The frost damage was very isolated in most of Southern Minnesota, but was a bit more prevalent in Western Minnesota, as well as in North and South Dakota. It appears that most of the frost damage in Southern Minnesota occurred in low lying, peat-type soils, and only in portions of fields. It appears to be mostly leaf damage on early planted corn, which should recover, since the growing point on smaller corn plants is still below the soil surface. There has also been some concern in Western Minnesota with frost damage to early planted soybeans that were emerged.

Producers are encouraged to be patient with crop recovery from frost damage, as it takes a few days for new growth to appear, especially with the cooler temperatures that were experienced following the frost. Growers also need to be certain that the injury they are evaluating is frost damage, and not crop injury from other causes. Some early planted corn showed leaf damage from the strong winds and blowing dirt prior to the rainfall that occurred on May 14-17. In addition, some corn has shown yellowing from the extended period of colder weather and cool soil temperatures in mid-May. Those weather conditions have also lead to some herbicide injury symptoms on newly emerged soybeans that were treated with pre-emergence herbicides.

If crop producers have questions or concerns on frost damage, herbicide injury, or other early season crop issues, they are encouraged to contact their crop consultant or agronomist for assistance. The University of Minnesota Extension website also contains some useful information on these topics.

Overall, early planted corn and soybeans look very good in most areas of the Upper Midwest. Crop planting in many areas was completed ahead of schedule, and crop emergence has been satisfactory. There have been very few widespread early season insect or disease problems in either corn or soybeans thus far. The biggest overall concern in the past couple of weeks has been the extended period of cool, cloudy weather, which has slowed plant growth, and caused some plant discoloration. The extended forecast appears to be more favorable from a temperature standpoint.

Many portions of Minnesota received some very beneficial rainfall from May 14-18, which will help alleviate the drought conditions that have persisted this Spring. Most areas of the State, except for portions of Southeastern Minnesota, received 1-2 inches of precipitation during that period, with some portions of Western Minnesota receiving 4-6 inches of rainfall, which caused some standing water in crop fields. The University of Minnesota Research and Outreach Center at Waseca received 1.81 inches of precipitation from May 14-18, and has received 2.39 inches in the month of May, as of May 21. By comparison, the U of M Research Center at Lamberton had received total monthly rainfall of 2.39 inches through May 21.

As of May 21, a total of 182 growing degree units (GDU”s) had been accumulated since May 1 at the U of M Research Center at Waseca. The 2014 GDU accumulation at Waseca is about 10 percent below normal for that date; however, the early planted corn also benefitted from some GDU accumulation in late April. The 2015 GDU accumulation from May 1-21 compares to 124 GDU’s in 2014 and 201 GDU’s in 2013. The good news is that most of the 2015 corn and soybean crop was planted in much of Southern Minnesota, as of May 21; as compared to 2013 or 2014, when a considerable amount of crop acreage was still unplanted as of that date.

Based on the May 18 USDA Crop Progress Report, 97 percent of Minnesota’s corn was planted, and 79 percent of State’s soybeans were planted, compared to five-year (2010-2014) averages of 70 percent planted for corn, and 33 percent for soybeans. As of May 18, Iowa had 92 percent of the corn and 51 percent of the soybeans planted, compared to five-year averages of 84 percent for corn and 45 percent for soybeans. Nationally, 85 percent of the corn and 45 percent of the soybeans were planted by May 18, which is ahead of the five-year averages of 75 percent for corn and 36 percent for soybeans.

Conservation Compliance Deadline
As a part of the 2014 Farm Bill, crop producers must be in compliance with USDA highly erodible and wetlands conservation provisions on their crop land for some crop insurance benefits. They are required to have FSA Form AD-1026 on file at their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office by June 1, 2015, in order to be eligible to receive federally subsidized crop insurance coverage. Federal subsidies account for an average about 60 percent of the cost for insurance premiums for most levels on crop insurance coverage for most eligible farm commodities.

Most farm operators that are enrolled in the regular USDA farm programs (ARC or PLC) likely already have Form AD-1026 on file at the FSA office, since this form is required for farm program enrollment. If there is already a FSA form on file, there is no need to file an additional form for the crop insurance requirement. Producers that do not participate in regular USDA farm programs, but do utilize crop insurance, or that are unsure of their conservation compliance status, should contact their local FSA office by June 1.

Note — For additional information contact Kent Thiesse, Farm Management Analyst and Vice President, MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, Minnesota. Phone: (507) 381-7960); Email:; Web Site:


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