Spring 2014 has been a battle for most Upper Midwest crop producers, as they have tried to get corn and soybeans planted on a timely basis. Some favorable weather in late May allowed significant planting progress in many areas of southern and western Minnesota, and adjoining areas of Iowa and South Dakota. A fairly large amount of corn and soybeans remain to be planted in large portions of central, east-central and northwest Minnesota, as well as adjoining areas of Wisconsin and North Dakota. Heavy rains over this past weekend have caused further planting delays in these regions, in addition to resulting in drown-out damage in other locations across southern and western Minnesota.
Most of southern and central Minnesota received significant rainfall on May 31 and June 1, with some locations receiving 3-5 inches of rain, or more, during that period. This resulted in some flash flooding situations, as well as standing water in numerous fields. Farm operators will be monitoring the situation, in order to determine how much replanting will be necessary. The rainfall this past weekend was very welcome in most of southwest Minnesota, which had been fairly dry throughout most of the Spring, and was considered to be in “moderate” drought conditions.
Some drier weather in late May in many portions of southern and western Minnesota, together with some above-normal temperatures, allowed both corn and soybean planting to be nearly completed by the end of May. The warmer temperatures and adequate moisture allowed for rapid germination of the later planted crops, and some very good growing conditions. Some later-planted corn and soybeans, which had adequate soil moisture, emerged 5-7 days after planting, as a result of the ideal conditions.
As of May 28, a total of 237 growing degree units (GDUs) had been accumulated at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center at Waseca. The 2014 GDU accumulation at Waseca is about 18% below normal, but is slightly ahead of the 2013 GDU accumulation. The good news was that the GDU accumulation from May 22-28 was 26% above normal, which allowed for the excellent late-May growing conditions in many areas.
Even though Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota have been dealing with delayed planting and slow early season crop growth, other primary corn and soybean production areas have had much more favorable early season conditions. The overall condition of the U.S. corn and soybean crop at the end of May in 2014 appears to significantly more favorable than in 2013.