Back this week from a multi-generational family vacation -- and glad to be so. Family time is valuable, yet exhausting.
After a week fishing with no Internet, television or newspapers, I was anxious to get back into the swing of things in the newsroom. So I asked our group of email correspondents what I had missed in the past week and how crops were doing in their areas. Here's what they had to say.
Mark Nowak, Wells, Minnesota
"Again, south-central Minnesota blessed with 1.7" rain on Friday and another .7 inch on Sunday morning and .4 inch this morning (Tuesday) bringing our July total to 4.87 inch -- about 10% above normal. But nicely spaced and good timing considering wrapping up pollination and bean pods starting to form. Corn ear kernel count is about 10% above normal. Soybean plant height is the highest ever in my 42 crop years for the end of July. Weather seems conducive for blossom saving turning into pods.
"Pod count and kernel depth in August will determine final yield. Right now the outlook is favorable for a strong finish.
"Minnesota corn rated 87% good-excellent is highest ever recorded. If this good rating translates to yield of 200 bu state average per DTN download, Minnesota alone will make up nearly 300 million bushel of corn crop lost in the I-70 flood zone.
"No wonder the funds sold off hard the last week once they realized how good the northern crop really is. The only downside I can find in all this is that most Minnesota counties may not be eligible for an ARC-County Farm Bill payment for 2015 crop. Who cares? I'll take the bushels."
Cory Ritter, Blue Mound, Illinois (center of state)
"We are looking OK. Beans have really come along nicely. The heat and no rain have really helped. But saying that, we are starting to get dry and will need a rain soon. Corn looks above average. But we have concerns. Signs of lack of N from all the early season rain are showing up. Lots of talk from other farmers about concern that we are going to run out of N. Some of the earliest corn is starting to dent. If last year was a 10; we are a 7-8; but real possibility of dropping to 5-6 because of N issues."
Randy Bush, northwest Iowa
"As of today (Tuesday) the beans are in the R5 stage and the corn is in the R2 stage. This is where I believe it pays to plant early and try not to spray after blooms come on. May 1 on the beans and April 24 on the corn. The later beans are just forming pods and flowering. The beans are tall this year in 30" rows, waist to armpit, with a nice node and pod set. Mine are still flowering and setting the top pods. We had 1/2" on Sunday, 1/2" on Monday, and 1 1/2" rain this morning. There is a nice pocket in this corner of the state. We are set, I actually hope it doesn't rain anymore here; the crop is made, God willing, if we get sun and heat. I have found no foliar or insect disease on my corn or beans, although the helicopters and planes have been buzzing around me. The corn ears are really high this year, 4 to 6' off the ground. That corn is planted at 33500-34000. Will have good tonnage on silage."
Crawford McFetridge, Finger Lakes area of New York
"We had a good rain Saturday. A pounder and it was gone. Now it looks like things are heading to a drought. That will help get the wheat off. Tomorrow (Wednesday) it is going to be 94 degrees. That will be the hottest day so far. May 8 was the first 90-degree day. About a week ago we had a 90-degree day. It will help some of the corn and soybeans. Help finish off the rest. "
Adam Stonecipher, Danville, Illinois
"We're still wet. I've been able to drive across a lot of Indiana and Illinois in the last two weeks and can say that the good looks really good and the bad looks really bad. There are several counties in northern Indiana and into Illinois that look worse than 2012, with more non-planted acres than I realized and certainly more than I recall seeing in any recent years for this area. Then there are large areas through central Illinois that look as good as last year. From talking to clients, as a whole, I'd expect Indiana to be well below average on corn yield and Illinois somewhere around average, maybe. I'd think the Western Corn Belt states will all have to have huge, record-breaking years to offset the drag of the Eastern Corn Belt and keep the national average around 165. Hard to tell on beans, they are looking better than two to three weeks ago, but are still behind relative to recent years and the top-end potential is gone."
Daniel Hiller, Hardin County, Ohio, east of Ada
"I was in a field of water damaged corn today (Monday) that is starting to tassel, no silk."
Phil Carter, New Era, Michigan (west-central part of state)
"Sour cherry harvest is finished up, a rather short crop. Quality was good. Have had no rain for about 10 days, soil is starting to dry out, but the last several days have been humid. It hit 90 degrees today (Monday); first time in almost two years. A neighbor told me tonight he has had hay down since last Tuesday and it was still too tough to bale. Wheat harvest is starting around here; mine should be run this week."
If you'd like to join our group of reader consultants, send me an email at email@example.com.
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