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Crop Development Mixed Across the Midwest
South Dakota Ag Connection - 06/07/2023

The Spring of 2023 has been a mixed scenario for crop producers in the Upper Midwest, as they have tried to get this year’s corn and soybean crop planted and off to a good start. Favorable weather conditions in early May allowed for corn planting progress in many areas of the Midwest; however, heavy rainfall events during the second week of May slowed planting progress in the Northern Corn Belt and resulted in some poor corn emergence. A very warm and dry weather pattern during the last half of May allowed most of the corn and soybeans to be planted by months end and resulted in rapid germination and crop emergence. As we enter June, the crop concern has turned to lack of rainfall in many areas of the Midwest.

Total rainfall amounts across the Upper Midwest during the month of May were quite variable. Most areas received some precipitation during the first half of May, with portions of Southern Minnesota receiving excess rainfall that caused some crop loss. Since May 15, much of the Midwest and Central Plains regions received less than normal rainfall for the last half of May and early June. This trend is certainly raising concerns in some portions of the region as we head into the primary portion of the growing season for corn and soybeans.

The University of Minnesota Research and Outreach Center at Waseca recorded 6.42 inches of rainfall during May, with nearly 6 inches of rainfall occurring from May 6-15. This was 1.95 inches above the long-term average monthly precipitation for May at Waseca, which followed the April precipitation total 3.66 inches that was very near normal. From May 16 until June 5 the Waseca location has measured only .42 inches of precipitation. The U of M Southwest Research and Outreach Center at Lamberton received 5.82 inches of rainfall from May 7-15 and has received and has received nearly 1.5 inches of rainfall since May 15, which is nearly ideal. Total stored soil measurements at the Lamberton site on June 1 were above normal levels and very close to levels in early June of 2022; however, stored soil moisture levels are somewhat limited in the upper sections of the soil profile.

A large portion of South Central Minnesota and adjoining areas of North Central Iowa dealt with excess precipitation from May 6-15, with several locations receiving 8-12 inches of total rainfall during that period. This resulted in thousands of acres of corn needing to be replanted due to drown-out conditions and poor crop emergence. A majority of the soybeans in the region, as well as the replanted and later-planted corn were not planted until the last week of May. Following the late planting dates, warm temperatures and limited rainfall have rapidly dried out topsoil conditions, which has resulted in poor and uneven crop emergence in some locations.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor that was released on June 1 showed that about one-third of the primary corn production regions of the United States were experiencing some level of drought. Moderate to extreme drought conditions covered much of Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri, with moderate drought conditions extending into the western third of Iowa, southeast South Dakota, and extreme southwest Minnesota. A growing area of abnormally dry conditions extends from Iowa across the eastern Corn Belt States of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, as well as in portions of South Dakota Wisconsin, and Central Minnesota. The corn and soybean crop in many of these areas is off to a good start but needs some rain to properly sustain young corn and soybean plants until they are able to draw on supplies of stored soil moisture.


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