Update for soil moisture and winter wheat conditions

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Although the thermometer may not be cooperative, the calendar has begun pushing hard toward spring.  While some southern states are half done or more with corn planting, Corn Belt farmers may think about field work later in the week as soils dry where they have been wet, snowy, or  both. 

With the resumption of spring, where is soil moisture and how is the winter wheat crop that should be coming out of dormancy?  So many questions.

At the outset of April, several states have begun to report soil moisture conditions and other phenomena in preparation for planting. 

The data includes conditions of winter wheat, which is also summarized, but currently stands at 30 percent poor to very poor, with 36 percent fair, and 34 percent good to excellent. The final national progress report in 2012 showed winter wheat at 33 percent good to excellent, 41 percent Fair and 26 percent poor to very poor. For the 2013 wheat crop to develop there will need to be quite favorable weather.

Illinois

 The cold weather continued throughout the state last week with the average temperature being almost 7 degrees below normal at 39.2 degrees. Soil moisture levels continued to improve last week as the heavy snow from the previous weekend slowly melted. As a result of the weather patterns the past month soil temperatures have not reached the required level for planting and soil moisture levels across the state are too wet for planting also. Topsoil moisture was rated at 1 percent very short, 5 percent short, 72 percent adequate, and 22 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated at 6 percent very short, 23 percent short, 64 percent adequate, and 7 percent surplus. Winter wheat is starting to come out of dormancy with reports of some yellowing in fields needing warmer weather. Winter wheat conditions were rated at 1 percent very poor, 4 percent poor, 27 percent fair, 59 percent good, and 9 percent excellent.

Kansas

 For the week ending March 31, precipitation was limited to Southeastern areas of Kansas and a few isolated spots in Western portions of the State,. For last week, average temperatures were again below normal but warmed by the weekend allowing farmers to continue spring planting preparation. Additional precipitation is still needed throughout the state to replenish soil moisture and stock ponds. Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 16 percent very short, 30 percent short, 50 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus. Kansas subsoil moisture supplies were rated 41 percent very short, 40 percent short, 18 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.  The Kansas winter wheat crop was 13 percent jointed, behind 57 percent a year ago and 22 percent average. The condition of the crop was rated as 10 percent very poor, 19 percent poor, 40 percent fair, 29 percent good, and 2 percent excellent.

Missouri

The first weekly Crop Progress report for the 2013 crop year found cold wet weather across the state. Cold ground temperatures and above average precipitation in March has delayed planting progress. There were 1.6 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supply was 2 percent very short, 9 percent short, 69 percent adequate, and 20 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture in the northwest district was rated 49 percent short to very short. Subsoil moisture supply was 14 percent very short, 27 percent short, 56 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. Spring tillage was 15 percent, compared to 49 percent last year, and the 5 year average (normal) of 24 percent.  Winter wheat condition was rated 2 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 61 percent good, and 8 percent excellent.

Nebraska

 For the week ending of March 31, 2013, below normal temperatures limited fieldwork activities with producers awaiting warmer conditions. Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 37 percent very short, 43 short, 20 adequate, and 0 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 60 percent very short, 36 short, 4 adequate, and 0 surplus.   Wheat conditions rated 14 percent very poor, 35 poor, 41 fair, 10 good, and 0 excellent.

North Dakota

 For the week ending March 31, 2013, below normal temperatures limited snowmelt, with many areas of the state still experiencing average to above-average snow depths. Even though the additional precipitation was welcomed by producers in drought stricken areas, there is continued concern with the potential of spring flooding. With the continued snow cover in many areas, there were no days suitable for fieldwork again this week. Reports indicated that, on average, producers intended to begin fieldwork by April 23. The 2013 anticipated start date is well behind last year’s early starting date of April 3. Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 8 percent very short, 22 percent short, 62 percent adequate, and 8 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 12 percent very short, 33 percent short, 51 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus.

South Dakota

 For the week ending March 31, 2013, below normal temperatures limited snowmelt and kept soil temperatures at or below freezing in many areas.  Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 34 percent very short, 38 percent short, 23 percent adequate, and 5 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 52 percent very short, 35 percent short, 11 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus.  South Dakota winter wheat condition was rated 20 percent very poor, 56 percent poor, 22 percent fair, 2 percent good, and 0 percent excellent. Twenty-six percent of the winter wheat acreage was reported lost to winter kill. Only one percent of spring wheat has been seeded, compared to 21 percent last year and 5 percent for the five-year average.

Wheat conditions in Corn Belt and selected states

State

Very poor

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

Colorado

24

18

46

12

0

Illinois

1

4

27

59

9

Indiana

1

4

31

48

16

Kansas

10

19

40

29

2

Michigan

8

6

31

45

10

Missouri

0

2

29

61

8

Nebraska

14

35

41

10

0

Ohio

1

4

39

46

10

Oklahoma

10

23

40

25

2

South Dakota

20

56

22

2

0

Texas

15

34

35

15

1

18 reporting states

10

20

36

29

5

Last report of 2012

3

9

30

46

12

Summary:

While not all states have begun their season crop reporting, a sampling around the Corn Belt indicates many wet soil conditions and cold temperatures have prevented early season fieldwork, although it had begun in earnest at this time in 2012.  Soil moisture east of the Mississippi River is in much better condition than west of the Mississippi. Wheat conditions are in a wide variety of stages, as indicated by the fact that nearly equal amounts are divided among the three major categories.

Source: FarmGate blog




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