Minnesota crops looking good but soil is drying out

July 31, 2018

Corn and soybean crops remain ahead of their five-year averages after a cool, dry week that saw 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork on farms across Minnesota, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

While the dry weather meant farmers were able to reach the 90 percent mark on their second cutting of alfalfa, the lack of rain was starting to have an impact: The proportion of cropland rated very short or short of topsoil and subsoil moisture topped 10 percent for the first time this season. Pasture conditions were nonetheless rated 71 percent good to excellent.

With 92 percent of the crop in or beyond the silking stage, corn was a full week ahead of the five-year average; and 88 percent of the soybean crop had blossomed by Sunday, five days ahead of the five-year average. Corn and soybean crops were rated 89 and 75 percent good to excellent, respectively.

Fifteen percent of the oats crop has been harvested, and the spring wheat harvest was just beginning.

Lack of rain is becoming a threat to crops in some parts of southwest Wisconsin. Spotty rainfall in Trempealeau County has left some fields very dry, and West Central District observers reported 40 percent of cropland was short to very short of topsoil moisture for the week ending Sunday. That figure was 18 percent in the Southwest District, which includes La Crosse and Vernon counties.

Eighty-nine percent of the corn crop in the Southwest District had reached the silking stage as of Sunday, 76 percent statewide, well ahead of the five-year average of 60 percent.

Ninety-two percent of the Southwest District soybean crop had blossomed, compared with 79 percent statewide, which was slightly ahead of the five-year average of 71 percent.

La Crosse County reported leafhoppers in alfalfa and some farmers were spraying their fields.

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