Crop Production: July Agricultural Summary

August 11, 2011 02:50 AM
 
July brought with it warmer than normal temperatures and limited rainfall to much of the United States, promoting rapid crop maturation while at the same time negatively impacting crop conditions and soil moisture levels. Most notably, monthly temperatures reached as many as 10 degrees above average in portions of the southern Great Plains where the majority of summer row crops and many small grains were stressed by triple-digit heat and little to no rainfall. Conversely, temperatures along the Pacific Coast were near to below normal. While portions of the northern Great Plains, Great Lakes region, and areas along the Gulf Coast accumulated 6 or more inches of rainfall during the month, coastal regions in California, as well as much of Texas received less than 25 percent of their normal precipitation.
 
Despite favorable weather conditions across much of the major corn-producing area during July, development of the Nation's crop remained behind both last year and normal due to a sluggish planting pace earlier in the season. Six percent of the corn crop was at or beyond the silking stage by July 3, with progress evident in a limited number of States. Near-normal temperatures throughout the Corn Belt promoted silking progress of 27 percentage points or more in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri during the week ending July 17. By July 24, nine percent of the corn crop was at or beyond the dough stage,
7 percentage points behind last year and 3 percentage points behind the 5-year average. Continued warm temperatures and adequate soil moisture levels provided nearly ideal growing conditions for reproductive corn toward month's end. As the month ended, 83 percent of the crop was silking, 18 percent was at or beyond the dough stage, and denting was underway in seven of the 18 major estimating States. Overall, 62 percent of the corn crop was reported in good to excellent condition on July 31, compared with 69 percent on July 3 and 71 percent from the same time last year.
 
By July 3, sorghum producers had planted 97 percent of this year's crop, slightly ahead of the 5-year average. Heading was underway in a limited number of States. Hot temperatures in the southern Great Plains promoted a rapid crop maturity pace. With activity limited to Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas, 24 percent of the sorghum crop was at or beyond the coloring stage by July 10, ahead of both last year and the 5-year average. Triple-digit temperatures had many sorghum producers in Kansas irrigating their fields as much as water supplies allowed, while some fields in the Edwards Plateau region of Texas were abandoned due to prolonged drought stress. As July ended, 42 percent of the sorghum crop was headed, 7 percentage points behind the 5-year average. Head development in Kansas was a week behind normal as hot temperatures and dry soils negatively impacted crop growth. Nationwide, coloring had advanced to 28 percent complete by July 31, with 23 percent of this year's crop at or beyond the maturity stage. In Texas, scorching temperatures helped to quickly mature portions of the sorghum crop, leaving progress well ahead of both last year and normal, while at the same time causing a decline in crop conditions. Overall, 24 percent of the Nation's crop was reported in good to excellent condition on July 31, compared with 36 percent on July 3 and 69 percent from the same time last year.
 
As the month began, heading of the Nation's oat crop was behind both last year and normal due to delayed seeding and slow growth earlier in the season. With the exception of Texas, where heading was complete and harvest was nearly complete, head development was behind normal in all major estimating States. By July 24, ninety-five percent of the crop was at or beyond the heading stage, 4 percentage points behind both last year and the 5-year average. As July ended, oat producers had harvested 30 percent of this year's crop, 18 percentage points behind last year and 14 percentage points behind the 5-year average. Overall, 55 percent of the oat crop was reported in good to excellent condition on July 31, compared with 59 percent on July 3 and 76 percent from the same time last year.
 
While seeding was complete in Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, and Washington, barley producers in North Dakota were still seeding their crop as July began. Nationally, 93 percent of the crop was emerged by July 3, with the most significant delay evident in North Dakota, where unfavorable weather conditions not only limited seeding progress but slowed crop development as well. By July 17, fifty-three percent of the barley crop was at or beyond the heading stage in Montana, 38 percentage points behind normal. The latter half of July brought warmer temperatures to much of the Northern Tier, promoting increased crop development and maturation in many areas. By July 24, harvest was underway in the southwest region of Idaho. As the month ended, 92 percent of the barley crop was at or beyond the heading stage, 5 percentage points behind the 5-year average. Overall, 72 percent of the barley crop was reported in good to excellent condition on July 31, compared with 76 percent on July 3 and 86 percent from the same time last year.
 
Ninety-seven percent of the winter wheat crop was at or beyond the heading stage by July 3, on par with the 5-year average. Despite warmer temperatures promoting double-digit head development in Idaho, Montana, and Washington during the week ending July 3, progress remained well behind normal. Mostly sunny skies and dry weather allowed producers in several States ample time to harvest their crop. The harvest pace remained quick in many areas as July progressed, evidenced by producers in Indiana and Ohio harvesting 41 percent or more of their crop during the week ending July 10. While harvest was complete or nearly complete throughout much of the major winter wheat-producing region by July 24, harvest across the Northern Tier was just beginning. By the end of July, 81 percent of this year's winter wheat crop was harvested, with progress in Montana 20 days behind normal due to delayed seeding and slow crop development earlier in the season. Overall, 36 percent of the winter wheat crop was reported in good to excellent condition when harvest surpassed the halfway point during the week ending July 3, 27 percentage points below the same time last year.
 
Spring wheat emergence was 94 percent complete by July 3, over 3 weeks behind normal. With cool, wet weather dominating much of the Northern Tier throughout much of the growing season, heading of the spring wheat crop in Minnesota, Montana, and the Dakotas was 32 percentage points or more behind normal by July 3. Warmer temperatures promoted double-digit head development in most estimating States during mid-July; however, overall progress remained well behind both last year and normal. As the month ended, heading had advanced to 90 percent complete, 8 percentage points behind the 5-year average. The most significant delay was evident in Montana, where heading was 21 percentage points behind normal. Overall, 70 percent of the spring wheat crop was reported in good to excellent condition on July 31, unchanged from ratings on July 3 but 12 percentage points below the same time last year.
 
As July began, heading of this year's rice crop was slightly ahead of normal, with producers in California treating fields with herbicide to control weeds. Producers along the Upper Coast in Texas were preparing to harvest their fields. In Arkansas, favorable weather boosted crop conditions mid-month, while disease and insect presence negatively impacted some fields in Louisiana. As the month progressed, head development slowed and progress fell behind the 5-year average during the week ending July 24. By month's end, 47 percent of the Nation's rice crop was at or beyond the heading stage, 18 percentage points behind last year and 2 percentage points behind the 5-year average. Overall, 64 percent of the rice crop was reported in good to excellent condition on July 31, compared with 60 percent on July 3 and 72 percent from the same time last year.
 
Soybean emergence was 96 percent complete by July 3, on par with the 5-year average. Blooming was underway but behind both last year and normal due to late planting and adverse growing conditions in many areas throughout the spring and early summer. Warm, sunny weather promoted a rapid blooming pace as July progressed, with double-digit development evident in most States during each week throughout the month. By July 24, sixteen percent of the soybean crop was setting pods, 16 percentage points behind last year and 11 percentage points behind the 5-year average. Despite rapid phenological development, July ended with blooming and pod set behind both last year and normal. Overall, 60 percent of the soybean crop was reported in good to excellent condition on July 31, compared with 66 percent on July 3 and 66 percent from the same time last year.
 
As spotty rainfall helped to improve soil conditions in portions of the Southeast as July began, pegging of the peanut crop was 26 percent complete, well behind last year and 5 percentage points behind the 5-year average. Peg development became easier and crop conditions improved in many of the major peanut-producing areas as additional rainfall helped to loosen hard-packed soils during mid-to late-July. Toward month's end, producers in Georgia were busy treating fields with fungicide to combat white mold. By July 31, pegging was 80 percent complete, 5 percentage points behind last year and 3 percentage points behind the 5-year average. Overall, 43 percent of the peanut crop was reported in good to excellent condition on July 31, compared with 30 percent on July 3 and 57 percent from the same time last year.
 
Although some sunflower fields remained wet in North Dakota, improved weather conditions during early July allowed producers in the State time to complete some fieldwork, and by July 10, ninety-seven percent of the Nation's crop was planted, over one week behind normal.
 
Despite warm temperatures across much of the South, squaring of this year's cotton crop was behind both last year and normal as July began. In Texas, poor seed germination and emergence of dryland fields in areas of the Plains left crop development behind normal. Bolls were setting on 20 percent of the Nation's crop by July 10, five percentage points behind last year and 3 percentage points behind the 5-year average. As drought conditions worsened in areas of Texas, some dryland cotton fields in the Low Plains of Texas were abandoned, while some producers switched irrigation from corn to cotton to prepare the crop for boll set. Harvest was in full swing in the Coastal Bend and Lower Valley during the latter half of the month. By July 31, ninety percent of the cotton crop was at or beyond the squaring stage, 2 percentage points behind the 5-year average. Bolls were setting on 62 percent of this year's acreage, on par with the average. Overall, 30 percent of the cotton crop was reported in good to excellent condition on July 31, compared with 28 percent on July 3 and 66 percent from the same time last year.
 
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