Crop Conditions Mixed Across Region

June 6, 2016


The Spring of 2016 has been a battle for some upper Midwest crop producers, as they have tried to get corn and soybeans planted on a timely basis. Some favorable weather in late May and the first few days of June allowed significant planting progress in the some regions of the Corn Belt; however, a significant amount of soybeans remain to be planted in Southwest Minnesota, Northwest Iowa, and Southeast South Dakota as well as in portions of the Eastern Corn Belt and Southeastern United States. Heavy rains over in the past couple of weeks have caused further planting delays in these regions, in addition to resulting in drown-out damage in other locations across the Upper Midwest.

Many areas of Minnesota received significant rainfall during late May, with some areas receiving 2-4 inches or more during that period. This has resulted standing water in numerous fields along with some hail damage from severe storms. Farm operators have been monitoring the situation and evaluating plant populations, in order to determine how much replanting will be necessary, once the fields dry out. The rainfall has been welcome in areas of the Upper Midwest that had been fairly dry throughout most of the Spring. The expected warmer temperatures in the next couple of weeks, together with adequate soil moisture should lead to some improved growing conditions.

Total rainfall amounts across Minnesota during the month of May were quite variable. The University of Minnesota Research and Outreach Center at Waseca recorded only 3.73 inches of rainfall during May, with the largest rainfall event being less than one inch. However many other areas of Southwest, South Central, and Central Minnesota had much higher rainfall totals during May, with may areas receiving 2-3 inches of rainfall in a 24-hour period. Some other May precipitation totals in Minnesota included 7.29 inches at Hutchinson, 6.9 inches at Worthington, and near 5.5 inches at both Lakefield and Lamberton.

As of May 31, a total of 367 growing degree units (GDU”s) had been accumulated at the U of M Research and Outreach Center at Waseca, which is slightly above normal. The GDU accumulation of 341 at the U of M Research Center at Lamberton was also very near normal. Much of the early planted corn in the Upper Midwest has lagged behind normal development due to the frost damage that occurred in Mid-May, which was followed by some cooler temperatures. The good news is that the GDU accumulation should improve rapidly in the coming weeks, with some warmer temperatures.

Based on the May 29 USDA Crop Progress Report, 99 percent of both Minnesota and Iowa’s corn was planted, compared to a five-year (2011-2015) average of 92 percent in Minnesota and 96 percent in Iowa. Nationally, 94 percent of the corn was planted by May 29, which is slightly above the five-year average. Seventy-eight percent of the corn in the U.S. was emerged as of May 29, which is 4 percent ahead of normal. Nationwide, 72 percent of the corn crop was rated in good to excellent condition, with only 4 percent rated in poor condition.

The May 29 USDA Report showed 95 percent of the soybeans planted in Minnesota, which well ahead of the five-year average of 70 percent planted. Iowa had 88 percent of the intended soybeans planted by May 25, compared to a five year average of 78 percent. The 2016 soybean planting progress is actually ahead of 2015 planting progress in both States; however most of the area that remains to be planted is in the highly productive area of Southwest Minnesota and Northwest Iowa. Seventy-three percent of the U.S. soybean crop was planted by May 29, which is slightly above the five-year average of 66 percent of the soybeans planted by that date.

The Final Planting Date for corn in the southern two-thirds of Minnesota, as well as in all of Iowa, was May 31, in order to receive full crop insurance coverage for 2016. The Late Planting Period for corn is June 1-25, with a reduction in the insurance coverage level of one percent for each day that corn planting is delayed past May 31. For soybeans, the Final Planting Date is June 10 in Minnesota and June 15 in Iowa, with the Final Planting Date extending for 25 days until July 5 in Minnesota and until July 10 in Iowa. For crops planted after the final dates for the Late Planting Period, crop insurance coverage is set at a maximum of 60 percent of the original insurance guarantee, which is the same as the prevented planting insurance coverage.

Minnesota or Iowa producers that are facing either prevented planting situations, or must replant some corn and soybean acres following the heavy rains, should contact their crop insurance agent for more details on the prevented planting and replant options with various crop insurance policies. There are also some good fact sheets available on the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) web site at:

Even though parts of Southwest Minnesota, Northwest Iowa, and Southeast South Dakota have been dealing with delayed planting and slow early season crop growth, other primary corn and soybean production areas have had much more favorable early season conditions. The overall condition of the U.S. corn and soybean crop at the end of May in 2016 appears to be in fairly good condition, and some predicted warmer temperatures in the next couple of weeks should greatly improve conditions in the Upper Midwest.


Note — For additional information contact Kent Thiesse, Farm Management Analyst and

Vice President, MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN.  (Phone — (507) 381-7960);

E-mail —


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