Although wet weather across Indiana has hampered fieldwork and raised questions about crop conditions, things may not be quite as bad as they seem.
The "Indiana Crop and Weather Report," issued June 28 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service, shows 65 percent of the state's corn crop and 62 percent of soybeans are in good to excellent condition, and only 11 percent of corn and 12 percent of soybeans are poor to very poor.
"There are areas where fields were ponded, and in some areas of the state crops look better than others, but when we look at the overall average of the state, we're seeing pretty good crop condition numbers," said Greg Preston, USDA-NASS Indiana Field Office director. "We have to think of the entire state of Indiana as one big field. You can lose a few acres and still have a great crop."
Despite wet weather, 95 percent of intended soybean acres are planted, compared with the five-year average of 97 percent. Of those planted, 90 percent have emerged.
In the last week, 8 percent of Indiana's corn crop silked, or tassled, compared with none last year and a five-year average of 2 percent.
"Right now, for soybeans, we're in between that switch-over stage from planting and emergence to plant development," Preston said. "We've seen modest declines in the conditions from the heavy amounts of rain, but the crops, especially corn, got off to such a great start that conditions certainly haven't dropped like a rock."
When it comes to soil moisture, 96 percent of the topsoil and 98 percent of the subsoil in Indiana show adequate to surplus moisture levels - a reality that slowed fieldwork in recent weeks. For the week ending June 27, only three days had weather suitable for fieldwork, but soil conditions kept most farmers out of their fields.
"Over the next couple of weeks the reports will be very telling," Preston said. "We should start to see how the crops are responding to the warm, dry weather we're expecting."