Iowa's newly emerged 2011 crops are rated 81% good to excellent for corn and 79% good to excellent for soybeans, according to USDA's weekly Crops & Weather Report issued June 6. These are the first ratings of 2011 crop conditions.
"Although we are concerned about the current conditions near the Missouri River where more flooding is expected, the favorable weather in Iowa that we've seen this past week has shown to be productive and is generally getting the state's crops off to a good start," says Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture.
The report, based on a weekly statewide survey, is issued each Monday afternoon by the Iowa office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The complete report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture's website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA's site at www.nass.usda.gov/ia. Here are this week's highlights.
Warmer weather is promoting 2011 crop growth statewide
Warmer weather and sunshine this past week have prompted substantial crop growth. Relief from windy conditions allowed spraying of weeds in fields although many farmers are still waiting for an opportunity to spray.
Farmers located in the Missouri River area along the western edge of the state are keeping watchful eyes on the river level. Some have moved grain and machinery to higher ground in preparation for flooding expected over the next week or two, as more water is released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from dams and reservoirs up north in the Dakotas.
Nearly all of Iowa's corn acreage has now been planted and 96% has emerged. Corn condition is reported at zero percent very poor, 2% poor, 17% fair, 60% good and 21% excellent.
Soybean planting is 94% complete in Iowa as of June 6
Soybean planting is 94% complete for the state, equal to last year at this time and just ahead of the normal pace of 93%. South central Iowa soybean planting progress remains behind the rest of the state with just 76% planted. Looking at emergence, 78% of the state's soybean crop has emerged, marginally behind last year's 79% but ahead of the 5-year average of 74%. This year's first estimate of soybean condition in Iowa shows 79% is rated good to excellent.
About 9% of the Iowa oat crop has headed compared with 26% in 2010 and the average 15%. Oat condition remains relative steady with 1% very poor, 2% poor, 19% fair, 64% good and 14% excellent.
First cutting alfalfa hay harvest, at 33% complete, is well behind last year's 60% but gaining on the normal 39%. The condition of the hay crop is 1% very poor, 5% poor, 26% fair, 55% good and 13% excellent. Pasture condition is 1% very poor, 4% poor, 22% fair, 53% good and 20% excellent.
Iowa's current 21% "excellent" rating on corn is best in U.S.
The 21% excellent rating on Iowa's 2011 corn crop is the best in the nation, ahead of 14% in Illinois, 7% in Nebraska, 8% in Missouri and 9% in Indiana. Also as of June 6, 96% of Iowa's corn has emerged, compared with 79% for the rest of the nation.
Like Iowa, corn planting is finished in most Corn Belt states except for Ohio, where wet weather has prevented more than 40% of the crop from being planted. As of June 6, 98% of the 2011 corn crop is planted nationwide.
The possibility of flooding along the Missouri River has yet to impact corn prices, which fell 22 cents per bushel Monday to $7.32 for the July contract. Soybeans were down 31 cents per bushel to $13.83 for July delivery. Arlan Suderman, market analyst for Wallaces Farmer magazine, says the commodity markets are not yet concerned about Missouri River flooding.
Forecasters are lowering 2011 U.S. corn acreage estimates
Iowa has so far avoided the weather problems that have plagued farmers in Indiana and Ohio, as well as in flood stricken areas. Delays in planting in those areas have caused some farmers to switch to soybeans.
That and other weather problems have caused some private forecasters to lower their projection of USDA's corn acreage estimate by 2 million acres, down to 90 million acres or less for the U.S. this year. Private forecasters have also reduced by 2 to 3 bushels the USDA projection of a national yield of 159 bushels per acre for this year's U.S. corn crop.