Despite the unpredictable Indiana weather this spring and summer, the adage "rain makes grain" seems to be ringing true throughout the state as crop conditions remain good.
After heavy rains, flooding, extremely hot temperatures and some delayed planting and replanting, there was some fear that crop conditions might deteriorate as the season progressed.
That doesn't seem to be the case. According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service's Aug. 1 "Indiana Crop and Weather Report," 63 percent of corn and 64 percent of soybeans fell in the range of good to excellent, compared with 66 percent for both corn and soybeans for last year.
"We had a hot July, but timely rains that also brought some lower nighttime temperatures along with adequate soil moisture provided some stress relief," said Greg Preston, USDA-NASS Indiana Field Office director. "There has been just enough rain that even though crops were slightly stressed, it prevented permanent damage."
According to the report, 96 percent of the corn crop had silked, compared with 73 percent last year and 87 percent for the five-year average. Thirty-eight percent of the corn was in dough stage, compared with 8 percent last year and a 22 percent five-year average. Four percent reached dent, compared with zero for both last year and the five-year average.
"Farmers set a record corn planting pace this year," Preston said. "They worked hard to get the crop out in the fields early to avoid a repeat of last year’s record slow planting pace, and conditions were such that the crop developed quickly. Soybeans got a little bit behind during planting due to wet field conditions, but the weather seems to have pushed them along as well."
Eighty-seven percent of the intended soybean acreage was blooming, compared with 65 percent last year and a 78 percent five-year average. The report also showed that 59 percent of soybean acreage was setting pods, compared with 17 percent last year and 35 percent for the five-year average.
"August is a critical month for grain yield because corn is past pollination and into grainfill and soybeans are blooming and setting pods," Preston said. "The next few weeks will be important in determining what the crop looks like heading into harvest."