USDA July Weather and Crop Summary

July 11, 2012 02:56 AM
 
June Weather Summary


Rapidly expanding drought and a record-setting, late-month heat wave severely 
stressed pastures and summer crops, especially from the central Plains into 
the Midwest and Mid-South. Monthly rainfall totaled less than 50 percent of 
normal in a broad area centered on the lower Ohio and middle Mississippi 
Valleys. By month's end, approximately 60 percent of the Nation's corn and 
soybean acreage was within an area experiencing drought, according to the 
United States Drought Monitor. Drought-free areas of the Midwest were 
restricted to the northern and western Corn Belt.


The central Plains experienced the Nation's most persistent June heat, but 
the northern and southern Plains were also dominated by hot, dry conditions. 
Monthly temperatures averaged at least 5 degrees Fahrenheit above normal 
throughout the central High Plains. However, heat and dryness across the 
Nation's midsection favored a rapid winter wheat harvest pace. Most areas 
west of the Rockies also received little or no rain, except for unseasonably 
heavy showers in the Northwest. Several dozen wildfires raged in the Rockies 
and Intermountain West, although the late-month arrival of monsoon showers 
aided containment efforts in the Southwest.


Elsewhere, heavy rain was mostly restricted to New England and the lower 
Southeast. In the latter region, Tropical Storm Debby - which made landfall 
along Florida's Gulf Coast on June 26 - contributed to the overall wet 
pattern.


June Agricultural Summary


Above average temperatures and mostly sunny skies dominated the heart of the 
United States during June, providing producers ample time to complete 
fieldwork and boosting phenological development of this year's crops. 
However, the combination of high temperatures and below average rainfall 
negatively impacted row crop conditions in many areas. Temperatures climbed 
to more than 6 degrees above normal in portions of the central Great Plains 
and Rocky Mountains, while rainfall accumulations totaled less than 
50 percent of normal in areas of the Corn Belt, Delta, Great Plains, Rocky 
Mountains, and Southwest. Elsewhere, temperatures along the coasts were near 
to below normal. Rainfall in the Pacific Northwest, as well as Florida, 
Maine, and portions of the Great Lakes region totaled more than 200 percent 
of normal.


Following one of the quickest planting paces on record, 97 percent of the 
Nation's corn crop was emerged by June 3, twenty-two percentage points ahead 
of last year and 14 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Scarce 
rainfall coupled with record-breaking temperatures created unfavorable 
growing conditions in many of the major corn-producing regions. Prolonged 
dryness led to early-month reports of rootless corn syndrome in portions of 
Missouri, while the need for additional moisture was evident in many Iowa 
corn fields with wilted plant leaves. Silking was underway mid-month, with 
5 percent of the crop reported in the critical reproductive stage by June 17, 
three percentage points ahead of both last year and the 5-year average. 
Despite continually declining soil moisture levels, silking was rapid during 
the latter half of the month as sunny skies promoted crop development. As 
July began, one-quarter of this year's corn crop was at or beyond the silking 
stage, 20 percentage points ahead of last year and 17 percentage points ahead 
of the 5-year average. Overall, 48 percent of the corn crop was reported in 
good to excellent condition on July 1, compared with 72 percent on June 3 and 
69 percent from the same time last year. This represents the lowest good to 
excellent rating for this week since 1988 when 23 percent of the crop was 
reported in good to excellent condition.


Nearly three-quarters of this year's sorghum crop was planted by June 3, well 
ahead of both last year and the 5-year average. In Kansas, planting was over 
a week ahead of normal as sunny skies provided ample time for fieldwork. 
Fieldwork continued at a steady pace in most of the major sorghum-producing 
States, and by June 17, ninety percent of the crop was in the ground, 
10 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Heading was underway but 
limited to Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas by June 17. Toward 
month's end, extremely dry conditions in South Central Texas resulted in some 
sorghum fields being plowed under. Elsewhere, triple-digit heat coupled with 
little to no measurable rainfall led to deterioration of sorghum condition 
ratings in Kansas. As July began, 17 percent of this year's crop was at or 
beyond the coloring stage, with activity evident in the lower Delta and 
Texas. Sorghum fields in southern Texas were reported as growing well, with 
19 percent of the State's crop harvested by July 1. Overall, 34 percent of 
the sorghum crop was reported in good to excellent condition on July 1, 
compared with 50 percent on June 3 and 36 percent from the same time last 
year.


With favorable weather conditions promoting a rapid crop development pace, 
over half of the Nation's oat crop was at or beyond the heading stage by 
June 3. In Texas, harvest, at 77 percent complete, was 25 percentage points 
ahead of normal as sweltering temperatures promoted a quick dry down pace. 
Crop development gained speed as the month progressed, and by June 17, 
heading was 20 percentage points or more ahead of normal in all estimating 
States except Texas where heading was complete and harvest was nearing 
completion. Harvest was underway but limited to Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio, and 
Texas by June 24. Nearly a full week of days suitable for fieldwork allowed 
producers in Nebraska time to harvest 45 percent of their crop during the 
week ending July 1. As July began, heading was 97 percent complete, 
30 percentage points ahead of last year and 18 percentage points ahead of the 
5-year average. Producers had harvested 15 percent of this year's oat crop by 
July 1, six percentage points ahead of both last year and the 5-year average. 
Overall, 65 percent of the oat crop was reported in good to excellent 
condition on July 1, compared with 72 percent on June 3 and 59 percent from 
the same time last year.


Ninety-six percent of the Nation's barley crop was emerged by June 3, 
forty-one percentage points ahead of last year and 15 percentage points ahead 
of the 5-year average. Heading was underway across portions of the Northern 
Tier as above average temperatures boosted crop growth. Hot, dry conditions 
in during the last week of June in Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota - where 
over 60 percent of the barley crop is produced - dried out soils and stressed 
this year's crop, although rapid head development continued throughout the 
month. By July 1, sixty-one percent of the barley crop was at or beyond the 
heading stage, 28 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Overall, 
61 percent of the barley crop was reported in good to excellent condition on 
July 1, compared with 69 percent on June 3 and 76 percent from the same time 
last year.


With progress complete or nearly complete in areas other than the Northern 
Tier, heading of the 2012 winter wheat crop had advanced to 88 percent 
complete by June 3, eleven percentage points ahead of last year and 
8 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Harvest was underway in most 
southern locations as warm, sunny days provided ample time for fieldwork. In 
Arkansas, harvest neared completion three weeks ahead of normal as hot 
temperatures throughout the growing season quickly matured the crop. Heading 
was steady across the Northern Tier throughout the month, and by June 24, 
heads were present in 98 percent of the Nation's crop. Persistently hot 
temperatures aided a rapid dry down pace for most of the major winter 
wheat-producing States allowing harvest to advance quickly during June. By 
July 1, producers had harvested 69 percent of this year's crop, 20 percentage 
points ahead of last year and 26 percentage points ahead of the 5-year 
average, and one of the fastest harvest paces on record. Overall, 54 percent 
of the winter wheat crop was reported in good to excellent condition as 
harvest surpassed the halfway point during the week ending June 24, up 
2 percentage points from ratings on June 3 and 19 percentage points better 
than the same time last year.


Heading of the spring wheat crop was 3 percent complete by June 3, three 
percentage points ahead of both last year and the 5-year average. Warmer than 
normal temperatures promoted an accelerated crop development pace for most 
States during the month. By June 24, head development in Minnesota and the 
Dakotas was 49 percentage point or more ahead of normal. Conversely, 
unseasonably cool temperatures and wet fields in Washington delayed crop 
growth. As July began, nearly three-quarters of the spring wheat crop was at 
or beyond the heading stage. In North Dakota, the largest spring 
wheat-producing State, 42 percent of the crop was reported in the milk stage 
with 3 percent turning color, both ahead of normal. Overall, 71 percent of 
the spring wheat crop was reported in good to excellent condition on July 1, 
compared with 78 percent on June 3 and 70 percent from the same time last 
year.


As June began, emergence of the rice crop was complete or nearly complete in 
all States except California. As of June 10, heading was underway but limited 
to the lower Delta and Texas. Warm temperatures promoted a rapid pace for 
crop development throughout much of June. By June 24, over half of 
Louisiana's rice fields were at or beyond the heading stage, with progress 
29 percentage points ahead of normal. Toward month's end, producers in 
Louisiana were busy draining fields in preparation for harvest. In Arkansas, 
heading was 14 percent complete by July 1, twelve percentage points ahead of 
the average pace. Nationally, 20 percent of the rice crop was at or beyond 
the heading stage by July 1, eleven percentage points ahead of the 5-year 
average. Overall, 72 percent of the crop was reported in good to excellent 
condition on July 1, compared with 65 percent on June 3 and 60 percent from 
the same time last year.


Soybean producers were wrapping up planting this year's crop as the month 
began, with overall progress 20 percentage points or more ahead of normal in 
11 of the 18 major estimating States by June 3. Warmer than normal 
temperatures promoted rapid crop emergence in most States early in the month, 
and by June 17, emergence had advanced to 95 percent complete, 18 percentage 
points ahead of last year and 14 percentage points ahead of the 5-year 
average. Blooming was underway throughout most of the major soybean-producing 
region by June 17, but was most advanced in the Delta. Above average 
temperatures promoted steady phenological development throughout the month, 
but - when coupled with a severe lack of soil moisture - negatively impacted 
crop conditions. As July began, over a quarter of the soybean crop was at or 
beyond the blooming stage, well ahead of both last year and the 5-year 
average. Overall, 45 percent of the soybean crop was reported in good to 
excellent condition, compared with 65 percent on June 3 and 66 percent from 
the same time last year. This represents the lowest good to excellent rating 
for this week since 1988 when 18 percent of the crop was reported in good to 
excellent condition.


Despite much-needed, heavy rainfall in many Mid- to Southern Atlantic Coast 
States, producers were busy planting this year's peanut crop at a steady pace 
in early June. By June 10, ninety-six percent of the crop was in the ground, 
5 percentage points ahead of both last year and the 5-year average. Georgia 
producers in most locations were busy applying gypsum to their peanut fields, 
while rainfall delayed herbicide applications in portions of the State. Over 
a quarter of the crop was pegging by June 24, well ahead of the 5-year 
average; however, peanuts in the Carolinas were reported as growing slower 
than normal. Overall, 68 percent of the peanut crop was reported in good to 
excellent condition on July 1, compared with 61 percent on June 3 and 
30 percent from the same time last year.


By June 3, sunflower producers had planted 60 percent of this year's crop, 
36 percentage points ahead of last year and 19 percentage points ahead of the 
5-year average. In North Dakota, the largest sunflower-producing State, 
planting was complete and 91 percent of the crop had emerged by June 17. 
Despite persistently hot temperatures and unusually dry soils, 68 percent or 
more of the sunflower crop was reported in good to excellent condition on 
July 1 in the Dakotas. Conversely, 36 percent or less of the crop was in good 
to excellent condition in Colorado and Kansas. By July 1, blooming was 
evident in Kansas and North Dakota.


With relatively dry weather dominating much of the South early in the month, 
cotton producers had ample time to complete fieldwork. Planting was 
87 percent complete by June 3, four percentage points ahead of both last year 
and the 5-year average, with 11 percent of the crop at or beyond the squaring 
stage. Strong winds, blowing dust, and hail damaged some recently emerged 
cotton in the Texas Panhandle during early June. Favorable weather during the 
week ending June 17 spurred double-digit square development in 9 of the 
15 major estimating States. By June 17, twenty-seven percent of the cotton 
crop was at or beyond the squaring stage, 8 percentage points ahead of both 
last year and the 5-year average. Boll setting was underway mid-month but 
limited to Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. Producers in the 
High Plains of Texas were busy irrigating fields and spraying insecticides to 
battle aphids and flea hoppers in late-June. By July 1, squaring had advanced 
to 49 percent complete, slightly ahead of the 5-year average, while 
14 percent of the cotton crop was setting bolls, 2 percentage points ahead of 
both last year and the 5-year average. During the 7 days ending July 1, 
warmer than normal temperatures in the Delta promoted a rapid boll setting 
pace evidenced by progress of 22 percentage points or more in all three 
States. Overall, 47 percent of the cotton crop was reported in good to 
excellent condition on July 1, compared with 54 percent on June 3 and 
28 percent from the same time last year.

Crop Comments


Oats: Production is forecast at 65.3 million bushels, up 22 percent from the 
record low production in 2011. If realized, this will be the second lowest 
production on record. Based on conditions as of July 1, the average yield for 
the United States is forecast at 59.8 bushels per acre, up 2.7 bushels from 
2011. Growers expect to harvest 1.09 million acres for grain or seed, 
unchanged from Acreage report released June 29, 2012 but up 16 percent from 
the record low last year.


Yield increases from last year are expected in the Northern Great Plains, 
Texas, and the upper Northeast due to more favorable growing conditions. 
However, yield decreases are expected in several Corn Belt States due to hot, 
dry weather. 

Overall, the oat crop has developed ahead of normal pace in most of the 
nine major producing States, mainly due to an earlier than normal planting 
season. As of July 1, ninety-seven percent of the oat acreage was headed, 
30 percentage points ahead of last year's pace and 18 points ahead of the 
5-year average. By July 1, fifteen percent of the oat acreage was harvested, 
6 points ahead of both last year and the 5-year average. Harvest progress was 
running ahead of the 5-year average in all States except North Dakota and 
South Dakota, where harvest had yet to begin. On July 1, sixty-five percent 
of the oat crop was rated as good to excellent, compared with 59 percent last 
year.


Barley: Production for the 2012 barley crop is forecast at 217 million 
bushels, up 39 percent from 2011. Based on conditions as of July 1, the 
average yield for the United States is forecast at 66.3 bushels per acre, 
down 3.3 bushels from last year. Area harvested for grain or seed, at 
3.27 million acres, is unchanged from the previous forecast but up 46 percent 
from 2011.

As April began, barley producers across much of the country were busy seeding 
this year's crop, with progress advancing ahead of the normal pace in most 
States. Conversely, cool spring temperatures coupled with excessively wet 
fields in Washington limited fieldwork. Emergence was underway by April 15. 
Sunny skies and adequate soil moisture levels promoted one of the quickest 
seeding paces on record. By May 20, ninety-eight percent of the Nation's 
barley crop was in the ground, 17 percentage points ahead of the 5-year 
average. With the exception of Washington, emergence in the five major 
estimating States neared completion toward the end of May. Head development 
was evident in most States in early-June, and continued to progress rapidly 
in most locations as warmer than normal temperatures boosted crop growth 
throughout the month. Overall, 61 percent of the barley crop was reported in 
good to excellent condition on July 1, compared with 69 percent on June 3 and 
76 percent from the same time last year.


Winter wheat: Production is forecast at 1.67 billion bushels, down 1 percent 
from the June 1 forecast but up 12 percent from 2011. Based on July 1 
conditions, the United States yield is forecast at 47.7 bushels per acre, up 
0.4 bushel from last month and 1.5 bushels more than last year. Expected 
grain area totals 35.0 million acres, unchanged from the Acreage report 
released on June 29, 2012 but up 8 percent from last year.

As of July 1, harvest progress was significantly ahead of normal in all Hard 
Red Winter (HRW) States except Montana, where harvest had not yet begun. 
Harvest was complete or nearing completion in several States. Yield increases 
from last month in the HRW growing area are expected in Kansas and Nebraska, 
but down in Colorado and Montana.

As of July 1, harvest progress in the Soft Red Winter (SRW) growing area was 
ahead of normal in all major producing States. Yield increases from last year 
are expected in several Corn Belt States and the Central Great Plains. Yield 
decreases from last month are expected in the upper Northeast and Southeast. 
South Carolina is expecting the most significant yield decrease due to 
tropical storm damage. Yield forecasts in the Pacific Northwest States are 
unchanged from the previous month's levels.


Durum wheat: Production is forecast at 82.0 million bushels, up 62 percent 
from 2011. The United States yield is forecast at 38.6 bushels per acre, up 
0.1 bushel from last year's yield. Expected area to be harvested for grain 
totals 2.12 million acres, unchanged from the Acreage report released 
June 29, 2012 but up 62 percent from last year.


Due to warmer than normal temperatures, crop development is significantly 
ahead of normal in Montana and North Dakota, the two largest Durum-producing 
States. As of July 1, crop condition in Montana and North Dakota was rated 87 
and 83 percent good to excellent, respectively. Heading progress in these 
States was 35 and 53 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average, 
respectively. Yield forecasts are up from last year in all major producing 
States except Montana, where hot and dry conditions have hindered the crop. 
If realized, California's yield of 110 bushels per acre will tie a record 
high.



Other spring wheat: Production is forecast at 472 million bushels, up 
4 percent from last year. Area harvested for grain is expected to total 
11.7 million acres, unchanged from the Acreage report released June 29, 2012 
but down 3 percent from last year. The United States yield is forecast at 
40.4 bushels per acre, 2.7 bushels above 2011.


Above average temperatures have advanced crop development across the Northern 
Great Plains. In the six major producing States, 73 percent of the crop was 
at or beyond the heading stage as of July 1, sixty-one percentage points 
ahead of last year and 38 points greater than the 5-year average. 

Compared with last year, yield increases are expected in Minnesota and the 
Dakotas, where showers and thunderstorms have provided needed moisture. 
Growers in Oregon expect a record high yield. A significant yield decrease 
from last year is expected in Idaho due to freezing temperatures earlier in 
the season and lack of moisture.


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