Calendar pages move, but planters don’t

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USDA’s weekly crop progress and condition report was almost a re-run of the prior week, with corn planting progress increasing only from 2 percent last week to 4 percent for the latest report. 

Among the three-I states, Indiana made the most progress, moving up to 1 percent complete.  Illinois remained at 1 percent, and Iowa farmers have yet to open the machine shed door.

Nationally, the 18 major corn growing states typically would be at 16 percent complete, and were at 26 percent complete at this time a year ago.  Regarding wheat, only 8 percent is headed versus 42 percent in 2012, and crop conditions eroded by a percent, with good-to excellent dropping from 36 percent last week to 35 percent this week.

The acreage in poor to very poor grew from 31 percent last week to 33 percent for the latest period.  And with heavy rains in the mid to latter part of last week, soil moistures have moved into the surplus category.


 The heavy rains along with the below average temperatures resulted in only 0.3 days suitable for fieldwork last week and very little progress in spring fieldwork. Topsoil moisture increased dramatically this week and was rated at 35 percent adequate and 65 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated at 5 percent short, 68 percent adequate, and 27 percent surplus. Cold soil temperatures also continue to be another factor delaying corn planting. Corn planting stayed at 1 percent planted compared to the five-year average of 24 percent. Winter wheat conditions were rated at 3 percent poor, 21 percent fair, 63 percent good, and 13 percent excellent.


Farmers in south western and south central counties were able to make very limited progress planting corn. However, their efforts did push planted acreage to one percent complete which is approximately two weeks behind the 5-year average pace.   One percent of the intended corn acreage has been planted at this time compared with 43 percent last year and 16 percent for the 5-year average. Only a few scattered fields of soybeans have been planted thus far this spring.   Thirty-six percent of the winter wheat acreage is jointed compared with 67 percent last year and 40 percent for the 5-year average. Winter wheat condition is rated 68 percent good to excellent compared with 76 percent last year at this time.  Topsoil moisture is 60 percent surplus and 40 percent adequate.


Wet conditions in Iowa during the week ending April 21, 2013 continued to limit fieldwork according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Snow was received in northern Iowa, while precipitation was mostly rain in southern Iowa. The additional moisture did help to improve both top and subsoil moisture levels. Statewide there was an average of 0.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week.  Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 6 percent short, 60 percent adequate and 31 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 14 percent very short, 32 percent short and 48 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus. No report on corn planting


For the week ending April 21, 2013, the cold spell continued across Kansas, with average temperatures at least ten degrees below normal for most of the State, and lows dropping below freezing in many areas.  Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 15 percent very short, 23 percent short, 53 percent adequate, and 9 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 33 percent very short, 35 percent short, 31 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.   The winter wheat crop was 43 percent jointed, behind 96 percent a year ago and 63 percent average. The condition of the crop was rated as 16 percent very poor, 21 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 27 percent good, and 3 percent excellent. Farmers in the western third of State are still evaluating the impact of freezing temperatures on their crop,


One day was suitable for field work in Michigan during the week ending April 21 according to the USDA, NASS, Great Lakes Region. Rain, snow, and cold weather were prevalent last week. Rain fall totals are well above normal. Some areas saw more than 4 inches of rain. This participation coupled with snow melt and the rain received previously had streams and rivers running high. Flooding occurred, especially in southern Michigan. Low areas of fields were under water. Winter wheat in southern Michigan greened nicely. Wheat in northern Michigan remained dormant. Wheat in low areas of fields has been under water for a few days and there may be some loss.  Corn planting has yet to begin, compared to last year when 10 percent of the crop had been planted by this date.


Snow cover and precipitation during the week ending April 21st continued to limit field work in Minnesota. The topsoil and subsoil moisture levels are slowly recharging between frosts. Temperatures remained below normal throughout much of the state. Snow covered areas and frozen ditches were still common in the northern parts of the state, yet water began flowing in thawed fields elsewhere.  There were no days rated suitable for fieldwork statewide, compared with last year’s 3.2, and the average of 2.9. Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 3 percent very short, 14 percent short, 59 percent adequate, and 24 percent surplus. 


Heavy rains minimized planting and tillage progress across most of the State with 1.6 days suitable for fieldwork. Most of planting and tillage progress was in the southern third of the state which had 3.8 days or more suitable for fieldwork. The heavy rains caused minor flooding of rivers and creeks.  Topsoil moisture supply was 2 percent short, 60 percent adequate, and 38 percent surplus.  Corn planting was 13 percent complete, 17 days behind last year and 9 days behind normal. The southeast district increased 24 points to 68 percent complete. Corn emerged was 5 percent complete, 10 days behind last year and 1 day behind normal. 


For the week ending April 21, 2013, cold temperatures combined with precipitation in the form of snow and rain to halt spring fieldwork, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Nebraska Field Office. Soil moisture supplies in the east showed improvement; however, western counties received 0.5 inch or less of moisture during the week, doing little to build soil profiles. The cold conditions lowered soil temperatures which declined into the low 40’s and upper 30’s statewide.  Planting activities were at a standstill with only 1.6 days considered suitable for fieldwork.  Statewide, topsoil moisture supplies rated 10 percent very short, 31 short, 56 adequate, and 3 surplus.  Subsoil moisture supplies rated 49 percent very short, 41 short, 10 adequate, and 0 surplus.  Wheat conditions rated 13 percent very poor, 30 poor, 46 fair, 11 good, and 0 excellent. Wheat jointed was 5 percent, behind last year’s 56 and 18 average.

North Dakota

The cooler temperatures and wet soils have delayed even further the start of fieldwork, with reports indicating that, on average, producers intend to begin fieldwork by May 5.   Temperatures across North Dakota last week were at least 9 degrees below normal, with the exception being the southwest part of the state where temperatures were 6 to 9 degrees below normal.  With the continued snow cover, averaging 5.9 inches across the state, there was only 0.1 day suitable for fieldwork. Although moisture supplies continue to improve, the 2013 planting progress remains well behind last year’s early progress and also behind the 5 year average. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 9 percent short, 74 percent adequate, and 15 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were 5 percent very short, 35 percent short, 56 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus.


Two days were suitable for field work in Ohio during the week ending April 21. Rain throughout the State kept farmers from working in their fields for most of the week, particularly in the northern and western parts of the State where heavy rains and flooding occurred. The rain has been beneficial to winter wheat, which is in a rapid growth phase. Overall the crop is looking good. Although some field prep activities are ongoing, many producers are waiting for warmer and drier weather to start planting corn.  One percent of the corn has been planted, the same as last week, which compares to 12 percent for the 5-year average and 31 percent at this point in 2012.  The winter wheat crop is rated 12 percent excellent, 60 percent good, 23 percent fair and 5 percent poor to very poor.

South Dakota

(Did not issue a report for the week of April 21)


 Yet another soggy, frigid week delayed the start of fieldwork and planting statewide. Some areas of northern Wisconsin received significant snowfall, while cold rain left water standing in fields across the south. Temperatures were well below average and growing degree days lagged behind normal. Hay and winter wheat reportedly remained dormant across much of the state.  Statewide, spring tillage was 1 percent complete, compared to 42 percent last year and a five year average of 25 percent. This represents the latest start to spring tillage in the past 30 years of Crop Progress data.  Topsoil moisture is rated 39 percent surplus, 56 percent adequate, with the subsoil moisture at 15 percent surplus and 62 percent adequate.

Source: FarmGate blog

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