FOCUS ON AG: OVERALL CROP CONDITIONS GOOD IN MINNESOTA

By Kent Thiesse, Farm Management Analyst and Vice President, MinnStar Bank

Mankato Times

Crop conditions across much of Minnesota in early August remain quite favorable; however, drier conditions have developed in portions of Southwest Minnesota, and adjoining areas of Western Iowa. Rainfall events and precipitation amounts have been much more variable in these areas in late July and early August, as compared to other areas of Minnesota and Northern Iowa. It has not been unusual for one location to get an inch or more of rain, and just a few miles away to have local areas receive only a tenth or two of precipitation.

Many areas of Minnesota, other than the Western portions of the State, received normal to above normal rainfall amounts in July, as well as some additional rainfall during the first week of August. Most of Iowa had total precipitation in July that was well below normal, and much of North and South Dakota continue to be embraced in a major drought. There was some beneficial rainfall across portions West Central, Central, and Southeast Minnesota, as well as Eastern North Dakota and Northeast South Dakota during the first week of August. Some added rainfall in mid-August would be very beneficial in the drier areas of Minnesota and Iowa, in order to achieve optimum corn and soybean yields.

The University of Minnesota Southern Research Center at Waseca, received 6.56 inches of rainfall in July, which is over two inches above normal precipitation for July. The Waseca location has received some additional rainfall in early August. The July rainfall amount followed 4.14 inches of precipitation at Waseca in June, which was slightly below normal for that location. For the year, total 2017 precipitation at Waseca through July 31 was about 2 inches above normal for the year. The above normal rainfall in July has helped maintain high levels of stored soil moisture, which will be very beneficial for crop production, if hot and dry conditions develop during August.

By comparison, the U of M Research Center at Lamberton, in Southwest Minnesota, received 4.01 inches of rainfall during July; however, there were highly beneficial rainfalls of over 3.00 inches recorded from July 18-22, when much of the corn was tasseling and pollinating. The Lamberton location received only 2.70 inches of rainfall in June, and as of July 31, has received 12.69 inches of total precipitation since May 1, which is slightly higher than normal. Some areas of Southwest and western South Central Minnesota received lower amounts of rainfall during the month of July. 

The U of M West Central Research Center at Morris, MN, received only 0.92 inches of rainfall during July, which is 2.74 inches below normal. This was the third lowest July rainfall total ever reported at the Morris location, trailing only 1936 and 2006. Total precipitation in June at Morris was 3.78 inches, which was slightly below normal. Fortunately, much of West Central Minnesota received one to two inches of rainfall during the first week of August, which should greatly enhance the yield outlook for corn and soybeans in 2017.

As of August 2, a total of 1,650 growing degree units (GDU’s) had been accumulated since May 1st at the U of M Southern Research Center at Waseca, which is about 5 percent above normal for that date. The GDU accumulation at Waseca had been consistently about 2-5 percent above normal since mid-June, but trails GDU accumulation at this time in 2016. The GDU accumulation at the Lamberton and Morris locations have been slightly behind the Waseca location. Crop development in Southern Minnesota is very near normal, but is behind 2016, when corn and soybeans in many areas were planted one to two weeks earlier than in 2017.

Based on the USDA Crop Progress Report released on July 31, the U.S. corn crop was rated at 61 percent “good” to “excellent”, which compares to 76 percent at these higher ratings in late July of 2016. Minnesota’s 2017 corn crop was rated at 81 percent “good” to “excellent”, which was the highest in the U.S., and is similar to 2016. Iowa’s corn ratings have been declining in recent weeks, due to limited rainfall in many areas of the State, and is now at 65 percent in the higher ratings. The “good” to “excellent” 2017 corn ratings in other States were: Wisconsin at 70 percent, Illinois at 63 percent, Nebraska at 61 percent, Indiana at 49 percent, North Dakota at 39 percent, and South Dakota at 29 percent. Corn ratings of “poor” and “very poor” were at 25 percent and 39 percent respectively in North and South Dakota, which have been devastated by severe drought in 2017.

According to the July 31 USDA Report, 59 percent of the U.S. soybean crop was considered “good” to excellent”, which compares to 72 percent in the higher categories at a similar time in 2016. Minnesota’s 2017 soybean crop was rated at 73 percent “good” to ‘excellent”, which was similar to Wisconsin at 74 percent. The “good” to “excellent” soybean ratings for other States were: Illinois at 66 percent, Iowa and Nebraska at 60 percent, Indiana at 51 percent, North Dakota at 34 percent, and South Dakota at 28 percent. Similar to corn, 35 percent of the South Dakota soybean crop, and 24 percent of the North Dakota crop, was rated “poor” to “very poor”.

Focus on AG is a weekly Column which features timely information on crop and livestock production, farm management and marketing ag policy, renewable energy, and other timely ag Topics. For additional information contact Kent Thiesse, Farm Management Analyst and Vice President, MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. Phone 507-381-960; E-Mail  kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com Web Site http://www.minnstarbank.com

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