The latest USDA weekly crop reports continue to show very favorable crop conditions in the Midwest. Seventy-five to 80% of the corn and soybean crop is rated in good to excellent condition in the west, 70% to 75% in the east. These ratings are occurring despite the fact that we have seen some periods of hot, dry weather allowing for topsoil moisture to diminish. Topsoil moisture in much of the Midwest is running at 35% short to very short with south-central and southeast Iowa around 65% short. Last year at this time most of the Midwest reported little or no short topsoil moisture. The reason the crop has been able to maintain good ratings is that the drier topsoil has forced crops to become better rooted as they head deeper to tap subsoil moisture. This is actually a favorable situation as it will allow the crop to better withstand any periods of hot, dry weather and will make the corn crop less subject to lodging. The weather pattern going forward during the next 7-10 days continues to look favorable as disturbances moving along the boundary zone between cooler air to the north and the hot weather to the south will be the focus of scattered showers and thunderstorms. The location of this boundary zone will be determined by the strength of the ridges. The stronger the higher latitude ridge the further south will be the boundary zone. The stronger the subtropical ridge in the southern U.S. the further north will be the frontal zone. No persistent hot weather is expected in the Midwest due to the movement of this frontal boundary over the region.
Overall crop ratings remain quite good in North Dakota for corn and soybeans. The spring wheat crop continues to develop well ahead of normal. There is nothing in the weather patterns indicating any significant crop stress during the next 7-10 days.
The wheat harvest is nearing completion in Oklahoma and Texas. The crop is about 60% harvested in Kansas which is ahead of normal. Episodes of scattered showers and thunderstorms during the next seven days will disrupt the remaining harvest but will favor corn and soybean crops.
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