Weather and markets have been a big concern for farmers this year. A recent report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service shows the impact wet weather and flooding have had on Nebraska’s crops, especially its two most dominant crops — corn and soybeans.
In its crop report for the week ending Sunday, the USDA rated the state’s 10 million-acre corn crop as being 63% good and 13% excellent, while 19% was rated fair and 4% poor.
Because of the wet spring conditions and late planting, the report said only 11% of the corn was silking.
Silking is the first of six stages to the reproductive growth stages in corn development. The tasseling, silking and pollination stages are extremely critical because the yield components of ear and kernel number can no longer be increased by the plant and the potential size of the kernel is being determined, according to the University of Nebraska Extension Service.
Actual kernel number and potential kernel size are determined during the silking stage. The USDA said last year silking at this time in the corn’s development was 60%. The five-year average is 42%.
High temperatures this week will be in the upper 90s to 100 or more, with nighttime temperatures in the mid-70s. According to the University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension Service, problems in corn development can occur when high day and nighttime temperatures coincide with the peak pollination period. Continual heat exposure before and during pollination can impact the corn’s development.
The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning through Friday evening for the area as heat index values are expected as high as 107 degrees.
For Nebraska’s soybean crop, the USDA reports that conditions rated 1% very poor, 4% poor, 24% fair, 63% good and 8% excellent. Soybeans blooming was 28%, well behind the 63% last year and the 54% average.
The blooming stage of the soybean’s plant development is when flowers begin to appear on the plant. Much of soybean planting was delayed this year because of wet weather and flooding; delayed planting can reduce vegetative growth and the number of nodes on a plant, where the flowers appear. Agronomists say the number of nodes can have a direct impact on yield.
The USDA said that Nebraska’s winter wheat condition rated 2% very poor, 5% poor, 20% fair, 55% good and 18% excellent. Winter wheat harvested was 14%, well behind the 57% last year and the 52% average.
According to the Nebraska Wheat Board, with much of south-central Nebraska drying out from the recent heavy rains, the first wheat in the area is being cut. While behind schedule, the dry forecast will speed up wheat harvest.
Nebraska’s winter wheat production is forecast at 51.4 million bushels, up 4% from last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Average yield is forecast at 53 bushels per acre, up 4 bushels from 2018. Area to be harvested for grain is estimated at 970,000 acres, down 4% from a year ago.
The USDA said that the condition of Nebraska’s sorghum crop was rated 3% poor, 24% fair, 66% good and 7% excellent. Sorghum headed was 13%, behind the 22% last year, but near the 10% average.
The recent USDA report said that subsoil moisture supplies rated 6% short, 86% adequate and 8% surplus.
Nebraska’s pasture and range conditions rated 1% very poor, 1% poor, 13% fair, 71% good and 14% excellent.