While many areas of the Corn Belt are struggling with too much rain, Minnesota’s corn and soybean crops may be the best in the nation right now, thanks to favorable weather. Rains have been timely and temperatures have been mostly mild with plenty of sunshine in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
State Corn Yield Could Top 2010’s Record
Looking at corn first, 86% of Minnesota’s crop is rated in good to excellent condition, the highest percentage in any of the top 18 corn-producing states, according to USDA’s latest Crop Progress report. None of Minnesota’s corn is rated as very poor, and only 2% is in poor condition.
“This is a spectacular growing season for corn,” said Jeff Coulter, corn agronomist with the University of Minnesota. “Some parts of the state are starting to get a little dry, but these areas have sufficient subsoil moisture. For the most part, conditions are great for pollination. The crop is seven to 10 days ahead of schedule, depending on location, and the weather is spectacular. There is a lot of humidity in the atmosphere, which helps reduce water use.”
As of July 26, 82% of Minnesota’s corn crop had silked, compared with the state’s five-year average of 70%. In another week or so, Coulter said that corn pollination in Minnesota, one of the most northern states in the Corn Belt, will be complete. By comparison, only 78% of the corn in the top 18 corn-producing states had silked as of July 26.
Coulter expects Minnesota’s statewide average yield to best 2010’s record yield of 177 bushels per acre by about 3% to 5%, possibly nearing 186 bushels per acre. In the top-producing fields, he said, yields could top out at 240 bushels per acre.
Weather, Pests Still a Worry for Soybeans
Minnesota’s soybean crop, while headed for record yields as well, faces more challenges than the state’s corn crop.
“The soybean crop looks great, but not as good as the corn crop,” said Seth Naeve, a soybean agronomist with the University of Minnesota. “We have been getting a build-up of stress from the soybean cyst nematode. It is certainly our most important pest, and it is becoming more of a problem than in the past.”
Even so, Naeve thinks the state’s average soybean yield could hit a new record high near 47 or 48 bushels per acre, with some fields yielding up to 90 bushels per acre.
“That said, we have a lot of season left,” said Naeve. “Big hail events, big wind events, and an early frost could really knock back the soybean crop.”
As of the week ending July 26, 80% of Minnesota’s soybean crop was rated in good to excellent condition, and no soybeans were rated in very poor condition. Ninety percent of the Minnesota’s soybeans were blooming as of July 26, compared with the five-year average of 73%, according to the Crop Progress report.
More of North Dakota’s soybeans, 81%, were rated in good to excellent condition, and Tennessee tied Minnesota with 80% of its beans rated in similar condition.
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