NEBRASKA — Asked why his field crops – and his fellow farmers’ crops – are so far behind this season, Fillmore County producer Shane Bristol quickly responded:
The effect of inclement weather in the state contributed to a dismal USDA Nebraska Crop Progress and Condition Report for the week ending July 7. The weekly report showed Nebraska corn silking and soybean blooming rates lagging.
Patrick Boyle, Deputy Director of USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service, Northern Plains Region said his institution’s data calculated an average delay of about one week. “The weather has caused a significant delay,” Boyle said.
“The data driven by our reports are surveys,” he added.
Silking in Nebraska was at 2 percent last week, according to USDA’s Crop Progress and Condition Report. This was behind last year’s respective report, which had silking progress at 28 percent. It was also well below the five-year average silking of 16 percent.
“I haven’t seen any silking in any of our fields yet,” Bristol said. “Overall we’re about two weeks behind.”
University of Nebraska Extension Educator Jenny Rees said she’s noticed growth that “ranges all over.” She said that generally things are behind. “Normally by the Fourth of July we’re seeing some tassels poking out,” Rees said.
Soybeans in Nebraska were also behind as of July 7, with just 10 percent in blooming stage. The low percentage trailed significantly with 48 percent blooming at this time last year, and a five-year average blooming progress of 37 percent.
Nebraska tallied an average of 4.8 days suitable for field work during the week ending July 8, 2019 according to USDA.
Nationally, numbers were behind as well, based on statistics from 18 states making up 92 percent of 2018 corn acreage. While slightly higher than Nebraska, only 8 percent of corn in said 18-state area was at silking stage; 34 percent at this time last year.
National soybean bloom progress was also significantly lower than at this time last year. Using 2018 data from the aforementioned 18 states (95 percent of acreage), the averages were similar to those reported in Nebraska.
Rees said it is too soon to know how the delays will impact yield. “It’s hard to tell how weather will affect yield,” she said. “There’s still a lot of growing season left.”
Warm weather in recent weeks has helped speed up growth, Rees said.
Bristol seemed cautiously encouraged by recent weather conditions. “We’ve made leaps and bounds the past ten days, but I don’t know if you can speed up progress,” he said.
The 18 referenced states making up USDA national corn and soybean data are: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin.