Dry soil, fields needing moisture, corn generally is good, wheat yield questionable, what else can be said for the Cornbelt spring of 2012? Planting was off to an earlier than normal start, but a mid-April freeze left corn a bit ragged, now soybeans are ragged as well, but needing moisture for better growth or to finish planting. That sums up the weekly report, but interesting details follow..…

USDA has released its weekly summary of planting progress, with the first crop condition report for the young corn crop. Additional details have been included from the individual state reports.

ILLINOIS: In the past week, 6.7 days were suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture is 33 percent short and 64 percent adequate with subsoil moisture about the same. Statewide precipitation averaged just 0.04 inches, 0.89 inches below the average. Planting progress for corn has reached 99 percent statewide, 20 points above the 5-year average of 79 percent. Corn emerged has reached 88 percent, 33 points above the 5-year average. Corn condition is rated at 79 percent good to excellent. Soybeans planting increased from 44 percent to 80 percent over the past week, well above the 5-year average of 37 percent. Some fields still left to be planted are too dry to plant until they receive rain. A significant part of the winter wheat crop has also begun to turn yellow at 45 percent. Winter wheat conditions remained nearly the same 80 percent good to excellent.

INDIANA: 6.5 days were suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture is 36 percent short, 52 percent adequate. Precipitation in the past week ranged from 0.0 to 0.19 inches. Warm, windy days allowed some farmers to finish planting but also placed stress on field crops as topsoil is becoming very dry in many areas. 97 percent of the corn acreage has been planted compared 66 percent for the 5-year average. 87 percent of corn acreage has emerged. 87 percent of the intended soybean acreage has been planted compared with 35 percent for the 5-year average. 62 percent of soybean acreage has emerged, compared with 12 percent for the 5-year average. 93 percent of the winter wheat acreage has headed compared with 53 percent for the 5-year average. Condition of winter wheat, still standing, declined slightly and is now rated 70 percent good to excellent.

IOWA: Days suitable for fieldwork totaled 6.6. With areas in Northwest Iowa receiving at least an inch of rain, it was the only district with less than six days suitable for fieldwork. The statewide average precipitation was 0.15 inch while normal for the week is 1.05 inches. Topsoil moisture levels 37 percent short, 55 percent adequate. Iowa farmers took advantage of another warm and dry week and planted crops at a rapid pace. Rain is greatly needed over much of central and eastern Iowa where no precipitation of consequence has occurred in two weeks. The recent dryness has been exacerbated by frequent strong winds, low humidity and above normal temperatures statewide. Corn planting now stands at 98 percent complete. A few farmers have reported having to replant some corn fields damaged by late April showers. 8 percent of the corn crop has emerged and is rated 8 percent good to excellent. Soybean planting is 85 percent complete, ahead of the five-year average of 60 percent. 26 percent of the expected soybean acreage has emerged, ahead of the five-year average of 13 percent.

KANSAS: Days suitable for fieldwork totaled 6.9. Topsoil moisture 19 percent very short, 42 percent short and 39 percent adequate. Winter wheat turning color is 63 percent, compared to a 2 percent average for this time of year, and some producers were preparing to harvest. A few areas in Kansas reported record high temperatures last week, while conditions remained windy and dry throughout much of the State. Only 10 of 53 stations recorded over a tenth of an inch while 25 stations received no rain whatsoever. All stations had above normal temperatures with weekly highs in the 80’s and 90’s. Six stations had weekly high temperatures of 95 degrees or higher. Topsoil moisture conditions drastically declined. Lack of precipitation remains a concern for both the wheat crop and newly planted row crops as moisture supplies declined sharply. Kansas corn producers have 98 percent of the crop planted, about a week ahead of 88 percent averaged planted. Statewide, 80 percent of the crop had emerged with the eastern districts reporting at or above 95 percent emerged. The 5-year average is 54 percent. The condition of the corn crop declined slightly to 88 percent fair to good. Soybean producers reached 64 planted by Sunday, about two weeks ahead of the 5-year average of 30 percent. 28 percent of the soybean crop had already emerged well ahead of the average of 7 percent. 

MICHIGAN: There were 6 days suitable for fieldwork with the topsoil moisture 89 percent short to adequate. Warm weather with no rain allowed corn and soybean planting to progress at a rapid rate. Most growers in southern Michigan completed corn planting. Some rain is now needed to aid emergence. Corn is reported 88 percent fair to good condition.

MINNESOTA: 6.2 days were suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture is 83 percent short to adequate. Spring Wheat is 15 percent Jointed. Soybean planting is 81 percent complete, compared to 30 percent in 2011. The corn crop is rated 71 percent good and 13 percent excellent. Warm weather throughout the week allowed producers to make significant planting progress. Dry conditions persisted in most areas of the State, despite scattered showers over the weekend. Statewide average precipitation was 0.6 inch, less than normal in most areas.

MISSOURI: Days suitable for fieldwork totaled 6.9. Precipitation statewide was 0.02 inches. Temperatures were 4 to 7 degrees above normal. Topsoil moisture supply dropped rapidly from last week to 44 percent short and 43 percent adequate. Corn planting was nearly complete, over a month ahead of normal. Emergence was 88 percent, 19 days ahead of normal. Corn condition was 67 percent good to excellent. Rain was needed to aid plant development. Soybean planting progressed to 65 percent, 20 days ahead of normal. Soybeans emerged were 28 percent, 12 days ahead of normal. Winter wheat turning color 81 percent; all districts developed well ahead of historic norms.

NEBRASKA: 6.4 days were suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture is 50 percent short, 49 percent adequate. Corn planting neared completion at 98 percent complete. Corn emerged stood at 78 percent with conditions rated 78 percent good to excellent. Soybean planting was 83 percent complete and emergence at 42 percent. Hot, dry, and windy conditions prevailed until showers moved across portions of eastern Nebraska late in the week. The above normal temperatures and winds have taken a toll on soil moisture levels which continue well below last year and normal. Producers have started pivots to aid crop germination and to activate chemicals. Precipitation fell across most areas of the State but varied widely.

NORTH DAKOTA: Days suitable for fieldwork totaled 6.1. Topsoil moisture is 25 percent short, 69 percent adequate. A week of above normal temperatures was ideal for germination. Reporters expressed concern though, stating that topsoil moisture supplies had been depleted in some areas of the state due to warm temperatures and high winds. 94 percent of the corn has been planted and it advanced 38 percentage points to 66 percent emerged, ahead of 22 percent on average. 84 percent of the soybeans have been planted with 17 percent emerged.

OHIO: Farmers were in the field 5.5 days. Top soil moisture is 75 percent adequate, 9 percent surplus. Winter wheat turning color is only 1 percent. As of Sunday May 20th, the intended corn crop was 94 percent planted, compared to 60 percent for the five-year average and was 73 percent emerged, compared to 39 percent for the five-year average. 74 percent of soybeans were planted, compared to 37 percent for the five-year average. 37 percent of soybeans were emerged, and the winter wheat crop was 94 percent headed,

SOUTH DAKOTA: Days suitable for fieldwork totaled 6.1. Topsoil moisture is 16 percent short and 74 percent adequate. Spring wheat is 2 percent headed. The lack of moisture caused concern across parts of the State, as some areas saw high winds and temperatures last week.  Corn conditions are rated at 86 percent good to excellent. Corn is at 93 percent planted with 64 percent emerged. Soybeans are at 65 percent planted with 20 percent emerged.

WISCONSIN: Days suitable for fieldwork were 6.6. Topsoil moisture 30 percent short, 66 percent adequate. Spring tillage was 91 percent complete this week. The heat caused the hay crop to mature quickly, and wet soils dried out dramatically, allowing farmers to make good progress on corn and soybean planting. However, short soil moisture was becoming a concern in some areas where fieldwork stirred up dust and soil crusting, hampered emergence. Across the reporting stations, average temperatures last week were 5 to 7 degrees above normal. Average high temperatures ranged from 74 to 81 degrees, while average low temperatures ranged from 47 to 52 degrees. Precipitation totals ranged from 0.00 inches to 0.07inches.  Statewide, corn was 83 percent planted and 37 percent emerged this week. Producers in central Wisconsin were replanting corn drowned or washed out by heavy rains. Soybeans were 47 percent planted and 6 percent emerged. A few reporters in Southeast Wisconsin noted soybeans being replanted due to storm damage.