As the beginning of August approaches, we are in a familiar position here in the corn belt. The weather has not been kind in most places, and crop conditions vary in different regions. Many ground sprayers and aerial applications are moving across the states. This fungicide and insecticide application will wrap up in most areas next week.
Indiana and Ohio came out of the gates strong this spring. Great planting weather and the right amount of rain kept the crop maturing through July. As conditions dry, west central Indiana and northeast Ohio are experiencing a drought. Drought conditions may temper yield potential on some fields, but they have hit tassel and pollination with an excellent base crop that a needed rain would help across the finish line.
A slow start to planting for Iowa and Illinois due to cooler temperatures and wet conditions has held back maturity in both states. Still, most fields will be fully tasseled and pollinating here by the end of July. Many fields we have visited in the last two weeks are already showing pollinated silk and look tremendous, just a little behind in progress from the past few years. Soybeans tell a similar story with plants blooming and beginning to set pods. Similarly to corn, the plant health is excellent, just a bit behind past years in maturity.
There are some areas of concern, moisture-wise. Illinois is suffering along the central part of its border with Indiana. The shared drought pocket holds a lot of very productive acres between the two states. If it continues, it could be a hefty loss in bushel potential in both crops. Iowa has seen very spotty rainfall this growing season. The southeast and northwest corners of the state have been dry all year and continue to stay that way, with the most significant concern being the severely dry area around Sioux City. A strip from the southwest part of the state up to the northeast corner looks to have all the rain needed for a bumper crop.
Minnesota has had a little bit of everything this year. Southern Minnesota had a strong start and seemingly has not missed a rain all summer. I would consider the southern two tiers of counties to be the garden spot of the state. The remainder of the southern half of Minnesota is experiencing dry conditions, and the eastern side of the area is arid. The west side of the state got a very late start but has some great-looking crops now. They are behind in maturity but look pretty good. Harvest will tell how much the late start limited yield potential.
August will be an important month. The forecast looks dry and hot, but weather patterns change quickly. Soybean yields are made or broken by August rainfall, and areas with late corn pollination will benefit from August rainfall as well.