Crop Production: May Agricultural Summary

June 9, 2011 02:33 AM
 

Unusually cool temperatures blanketed much of the western half the United States during May, delaying fieldwork and slowing the emergence and development of some small grains and row crops. Most notably, average temperatures in portions of the Pacific Northwest and northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountains were as many as 8 degrees below normal. Elsewhere, hot, dry weather in Texas adversely affected row crop planting, as well as crop development and condition. Limited rainfall throughout the Southeast left many producers waiting for improved soil moisture levels before planting their crops, while others put seed in the ground to meet insurance deadlines. Conversely, above average precipitation in the Corn Belt, Great Plains, Ohio Valley, and Rocky Mountains limited small grain and row crop planting in many areas.

With rain-drenched fields throughout much of the Corn Belt, Great Lakes region, and the Ohio Valley limiting fieldwork activities during April, producers had planted just 4 percent of the Nation's corn crop by May 1, fifty-three percentage points behind last year and 27 percentage points behind the 5-year average. A week of near-normal temperatures and little to no rainfall allowed for an increased planting pace during the week ending May 8. In Iowa, producers worked long hours for much of the week, planting 61 percent, or nearly 8.5 million acres, of their intended 2011 crop.
 
Favorable weather conditions continued throughout much of the latter half of May, allowing producers ample time to plant their crop and promoting rapid emergence across much of the major growing regions. Conversely, persistently wet weather severely limited fieldwork in Ohio for much of the month, leading to a major planting delay at month's end. By May 29, planting was complete or nearing completion in many States, and emergence had advanced to 66 percent complete, 17 percentage points behind last year and 12 percentage points behind the 5-year average. Overall, 63 percent of the corn crop was reported in good to excellent condition on May 29, compared with 76 percent from the same time last year.
 
As May began, sorghum producers in Texas were planting irrigated fields in the High Plains, while a lack of rainfall and less than adequate soil moisture levels in many dryland fields in other areas of the State caused planting delays. Nationally, 30 percent of this year's crop was planted by May 8, compared with 33 percent last year and a 5-year average of 29 percent. Despite scattered showers, the planting pace in Kansas was steady mid-month with progress slightly ahead of last year and normal. By May 29, forty-six percent of the sorghum crop was planted, on par with last year but 3 percentage points behind the 5-year average.
 
Wet weather continued to limit fieldwork for producers in many of the major oat-producing regions of the country as the month began. By May 1, seeding was complete in 45 percent of the Nation's oat fields with 35 percent of the crop emerged, 27 and 10 percentage points behind the 5-year average, respectively. Improved weather conditions in Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin allowed for increased seeding mid-month; however, progress remained well behind both last year and normal. Crop emergence remained steady following the increased seeding pace. By May 29, producers had sown 89 percent of the Nation's oat crop, 10 percentage points behind the 5-year average. Emergence was behind normal in all major estimating States except Iowa and Texas, where progress was complete or nearly complete. With activity limited to Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio, and Texas, 27 percent of the oat crop was headed by May 29, slightly behind both last year and the 5-year verage. In Texas, heading was nearly complete and producers had harvested 59 percent of their crop. Overall, 56 percent of the oat crop was reported in good to excellent condition, compared with 78 percent from the same time last year.
 
As rain, snow, and below average temperatures further delayed the start of fieldwork in North Dakota, the largest barley-producing State, producers Nationwide had seeded just 18 percent of this year's crop by May 1, thirty-three percentage points behind last year and 25 percentage points behind the 5-year average. Fields began to dry out and weather conditions improved mid-month, allowing producers in North Dakota time to begin seeding fields, while cool temperatures in portions of the Pacific Northwest and northern Rocky Mountains limited crop development. By May 29, seeding advanced to 72 percent complete, compared with 96 percent last year and a 5-year average of 95 percent, and thirty-nine percent of the barley crop was emerged, 38 percentage points behind both last year and the 5-year average.
 
One-third of the winter wheat crop was at or beyond the heading stage as May began, ahead of both last year and the 5-year average. Above average temperatures and unusually dry conditions in areas of the central and southern Great Plains promoted rapid crop development, but negatively impacted crop conditions throughout much of the month. While head development gained speed in the Midwest as warmer temperatures prevailed mid-month, flooding and soggy fields caused a decline in crop conditions in Arkansas and Illinois. Cool, damp weather in the Pacific Northwest and northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountains slowed crop development, pushing overall progress behind the average pace for the first time this season during the week ending May 22. By May 29, heading of the winter wheat crop had advanced to 72 percent complete, slightly behind last year and 4 percentage points behind the 5-year average. As May ended, harvest was underway in a limited number of States. In Oklahoma, producers had harvested 45 percent of this year's crop, well ahead of both last year and normal. Overall, 33 percent of the winter wheat crop was reported in good to excellent condition on May 29, compared with 34 percent on May 1 and 65 percent from the same time last year.
 
With cool, wet weather limiting fieldwork, seeding progress was behind both last year and normal in the six major spring wheat-producing States as May began. As weather conditions improved mid-month, fieldwork activities increased and producers were able to seed more of their crop. Double-digit progress was evident in all States except North Dakota during the week ending May 15. Nationally, 68 percent of the crop was seeded by May 29, twenty-six percentage points behind last year and 27 percentage points behind the 5-year average. Emergence in Montana and North Dakota, accounting for nearly 62 percent of the country's crop, was 40 percentage points or more behind last year and 44 percentage points or more behind normal due to cool, wet weather that had limited fieldwork, as well as crop growth.
 
By May 1, rice producers had seeded 49 percent of the Nation's crop,28 percentage points behind last year and 17 percentage points behind the 5-year average. While producers in California took advantage of warm, sunny weather and seeded 55 percent of their crop in the 14 days ending May 15, a series of strong, early-month storm systems dumped heavy rainfall on much of Arkansas and Missouri, limiting seeding progress to 18 percent or less during the same two weeks. Emergence remained steady behind the seeding pace.
 
Seeding was nearly complete in Texas and the lower Delta by May 22. In contrast, double-digit progress was evident in California and the upper Delta. By May 29, producers had seeded 94 percent of the rice crop, 4 percentage points behind last year and slightly behind the 5-year average. In Missouri, some intended acreage was unable to be seeded due to poor field conditions and the lateness of the season. Overall, 53 percent of the rice crop was reported in good to excellent condition on May 29, compared with 74 percent from the same time last year.
 
Planting was underway in all but four of the 18 major soybean-producing States by May 8, although progress, at 7 percent complete, was 21 percentage points behind last year and 10 percentage points behind the 5-year average. While planting was most advanced in the Delta, one of the most significant delays was evident in Mississippi where flooding along the Mississippi River left many fields under water. Favorable weather conditions in Illinois and Iowa allowed for rapid planting progress mid-month. By May 22, emergence was evident in 12 percent of soybean fields across the country. By May 29, fifty-one percent of soybean crop was planted, 20 percentage points behind both last year and the 5-year average. Emergence had advanced to 27 percent complete, 16 percentage points behind last year and 12 percentage points behind the 5-year average. Emergence was most advanced in the lower Delta, while adverse weather conditions in earlier weeks had limited crop development in the upper Delta.
 
With planting most advanced in Texas, 8 percent of this year's peanut crop was in the ground as May began, 2 percentage points behind last year but slightly ahead of the 5-year average. With the exception of Florida, where unusually dry soils limited progress, favorable weather conditions in most States promoted a rapid fieldwork pace mid-month. In Georgia, producers made good late-month progress despite dry soil conditions. By May 29, seventy-seven percent of the peanut crop was planted, slightly behind last year but 3 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average.
 
By May 22, sunflower planting was underway in the four major estimating States and had advanced to 11 percent complete by May 29, well behind both last year and the 5-year average. Adverse weather conditions earlier in the season delayed the start of spring fieldwork in many areas.
 
As the month began, heavy irrigation was run in cotton fields in southern Texas, while producers in the Northern High Plains waited for increased soil temperatures before planting their crop. With improved weather conditions providing ample time for fieldwork, planting gained speed mid-month as double-digit progress was evident in 12 of the 15 major cotton-producing States. Squaring was underway in portions of the cotton crop in many fields in southern Texas by May 15. Hot, windy conditions left many Texas producers scrambling to provide enough irrigation to recently planted fields during the latter half of the month. By May 29, producers had planted 73 percent of this year's cotton crop, 4 percentage points behind last year and 3 percentage
points behind the 5-year average. Toward month's end, producers in areas of the High Plains were treating their fields for thrips, while high winds and hot temperatures damaged some recently emerged cotton.
 
With soggy field conditions and steady spring rainfall limiting fieldwork in Minnesota and North Dakota, producers in the four major sugarbeet-producing States had planted 15 percent of the Nation's crop by May 1, eighty percentage points behind last year and 46 percentage points behind the 5-year average. With improved weather conditions helping to dry wet fields, planting gained speed mid-month. By May 29, planting had advanced to 92 percent complete, 8 percentage points behind last year and 7 percentage points behind the 5-year average.
 

 

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