Devastatingly hot weather continued to bake the nation’s mid-section, further dimming corn and soybean prospects and increasing stress on the Plains’ immature summer crops. Weekly temperatures generally averaged 5-10° F above normal in a broad area stretching from the central and southern Plains into the Midwest. Multiple triple-digit (100° F) days were noted in parts of Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas and on the Great Plains from South Dakota to Texas.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced two new pieces of disaster assistance for farmers and ranchers impacted by the nation's worsening drought. First, Vilsack is expanding emergency haying and grazing on approximately 3.8 million acres of conservation land to bring greater relief to livestock producers dealing with shortages of hay and pastureland. Second, the secretary announced that crop insurance companies have agreed to provide a short grace period for farmers on insurance premiums in 2012. As a result, farming families now have an extra 30 days to make payments without incurring interest penalties on unpaid premiums....More
Corn and soybean crop conditions declined over the past week, but nearly as much as they have in past weeks. Both crops lost only 2 points in the good/excellent ratings. Growing progress continues for both crops. Corn is denting in two-thirds of the states, and over one-third of the overall crop has reached dough stage. Soybeans are nearly bloomed in all states, and over half of the overall crop is setting pods....More
Charcoal rot of soybeans is one of the few Indiana field crop diseases thriving in the extreme heat and exceptional drought, and it could reduce the yields that have otherwise survived the unusual weather. Charcoal rot is caused by a fungus and infects seedlings early in the growing season. Symptoms, which mimic drought stress, aren't likely to appear until mid-season or later....More
Heat and drought in the Corn Belt have created the perfect conditions for Aspergillus ear rot to develop in corn grain and silage – something Purdue Extension plant pathologists say grain and livestock producers need to prepare for. The disease is caused by a fungus that produces aflatoxin, a toxic carcinogen for livestock that consume contaminated grain or silage....More
The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the USDA will release the first yield and production forecasts for the 2012 U.S. corn and soybean crops on Aug.10. The first forecasts of the season are always highly anticipated, but none more than this year as widespread drought conditions have resulted in a wide range of yield and production expectations, according to University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Darrel Good....More
With corn yield estimates declining daily, industries that use corn are concerned about not only the price of the commodity, but also the availability. The elephant in the room is the ethanol industry, which will consume an estimated 4.9 billion bushels of corn in the coming year, regardless whether the U.S. produces 15 billion or 10 billion bushels. But there are an increasing number of asterisks associated with ethanol’s impact on the corn market....More
How bad is the 2012 drought in Minnesota? It probably depends who you ask, and what portion of the state that you live in. Portions of central Minnesota, including much of the Twin Cities area, have received near-normal to above-normal rainfall during most of the 2012 growing season, and have very little drought stress. This has led some observers to conclude that Minnesota is not feeling much impact from the 2012 drought. However, rainfall events in much of southern and western Minnesota have been much more limited and localized, which has resulted in some moderate to severe drought conditions throughout the region....More
U.S. food prices will rise faster than prices for other goods during the second half of this year and next year, with the worst drought in more than a half a century expected to push up prices for meat, poultry and fruit, USDA said last week....More
While you can see the effects of the drought on the crops as you drive down the road, what you don't see is the financial impact it has on farmers. Kent Thiesse, vice president, MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN, and former Extension educator, talks about the impacts on crop farmers and their crop insurance coverage, as well as the financial impact of the drought on livestock producers. Thiesse reminds farmers to be sure to talk to your crop insurance agent during this time, as well as your lenders....More
The prolonged extreme heat and rainfall shortages that have led to moderate and severe drought conditions across Ohio also have led to reports of two-spotted spider mite – a pest that can cause severe soybean damage or death. Many growers have already reported finding two-spotted spider mites on soybeans, says Ron Hammond, an Ohio State University Extension entomologist who also has an appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center....More
The drought in significant parts of the Corn Belt during summer 2012 has raised familiar questions about deferability of crop insurance proceeds. The issue is especially important for those farmers who have a history of reporting crop income in the year after the year of harvest. The Internal Revenue Code allows deferability of crop insurance proceeds if certain requirements are satisfied....More
As the Illinois corn crop continues its rapid development with 8% of the crop in dent stage by July 22, its rating continues to decline. University of Illinois Crop Sciences Professor Emerson Nafziger says that on July 22, only 7% of the crop was rated as good, none was rated as excellent, and 66% was rated as poor or very poor....More
Much-needed rain developed across the northern and eastern Corn Belt and continued in the Southeast, stabilizing or improving crop and pasture conditions. In the Midwest, some of the heaviest rain (locally 2-4 in.) fell from southern and eastern Wisconsin into Ohio. Substantial rain (at least 2 in.) also extended into the northern Mid-Atlantic States.
The drought continues to wreak havoc on corn and soybean crops across the Corn Belt. Kent Thiesse, vice president MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN, and former Extension educator, talks about the 2012 drought versus 1988, as well as how much crops have deteriorated over the last few weeks....More
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has designated 76 additional counties in six states as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat. During the 2012 crop year, the USDA has designated 1,369 counties across 31 states as disaster areas – 1,234 due to drought – making all qualified farm operators in the areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans. The additional counties designated are in the states of Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin. The U.S. Drought Monitor currently reports that two-thirds of the continental United States is in a moderate to exceptional drought....More
Analysts say the notable aspect of this drought is its rapid increase in intensity since the beginning of July, spanning the crucial crop development period. As the percentage of total cropland under severe or greater drought increased from 17% to 39% (a 56% increase), the total value of crops increased from 16% to 31%, and the total value of cattle increased from 16% to 44%, USDA economists report....More
The corn crop is reaching dent stage in 10 states and is at dough stage in all but one of the major corn-producing states. The soybean crop continues ahead-of-average blooming, and over one-third of the overall crop is setting pods. As both crops continue ahead-of-normal development, conditions continue to slip....More
High-temperature stress is usually associated with drought. Heat stress and drought intensify damage to corn and soybeans but either may cause major crop injury alone. The recent high temperatures, i.e., record numbers of days above 90° F, and in some locales 100° F, have generated questions about the impact of high temperatures on corn and soybeans. How much heat stress can these crops withstand without incurring major yield losses even when adequate soil moisture is available?...More
Over the past few weeks, the primary question I have been asked is whether foliar fungicides still provide a benefit to drought-stressed crops. In issue 12 (June 22), I summarized corn foliar fungicide research trials conducted from 2008 to 2011. The greatest yield response and the greatest likelihood of a profitable fungicide application were observed where disease pressure was the highest. Foliar fungal disease pressure will be low in water-stressed fields, so the likelihood that fungicide application will be profitable is low....More
Many growers in Iowa participate in the Iowa Soybean Association On-Farm Network Guided Stalk Sampling (GSS) corn nitrate testing program. A number of others routinely do cornstalk nitrate testing on their own. We’ve gotten a number of questions from growers about whether they should bother with stalk nitrate testing this year because of the drought. The concern is that since this isn’t a typical year and we already know that droughty conditions result in high stalk nitrate concentrations, the results might not be worth the effort....More
We recently asked what farmers were expecting for crop yields this year. The poll so far shows that most are expecting to see 50-75% of what their usual average yield is. Some will see little to no yield in the middle of the Corn Belt, while those to the north are expecting a little closer to average. We put together some maps and data to show what farmers are expecting around the Corn Belt. These numbers are taken from the poll comments. If you have an estimation, leave a comment here and we'll add it to our maps.
National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer released the following statement in response to media coverage and Capitol briefings on the drought, food prices and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). “This is a time when farmers and ranchers are suffering the nation’s worst drought in years, covering nearly two-thirds of our country’s land mass. Like any crisis, it has led to numerous inaccuracies and exaggerations, especially when it comes to the impact on food supply and retail food prices....More
The dry conditions that continue to persist over much of Illinois and the Midwest are causing nutrient deficiency problems. Unfortunately, only rainfall will fix some of these problems. University of Illinois Assistant Professor of Crop Sciences Fabián Fernández says he does not recommend foliar or soil application of nutrients. Many cornfields show potassium (K) deficiency even though adequate fertility is present in the soil. One question being asked is: Why is K deficiency showing up in corn more often than any other nutrient deficiency?...More
Devastatingly dry conditions persisted in much of the Midwest, despite a reprieve from extreme heat, while rain provided significant drought relief in the Southeast. Only isolated sections of the Corn Belt received an inch of rain, while totals exceeded 4 in. in many locations from the western Gulf Coast region into the southern Appalachians. As a result, corn and soybean conditions continued to decline in much of the Midwest, while pasture and summer crop conditions stabilized or improved in the Southeast. Parts of the western Gulf Coast region received too much rain (locally 8-12 in. or more), causing localized flooding.