What a difference a year makes. This time last year, I could sit in the shade and sweat. Temperatures hovered around 106 degrees F, and reached into the triple digits for six days straight. Corn was drying up for excessive heat and lack of moisture.
Today temperatures are at least 20 degrees cooler with highs in the lower 80s. For the first time in weeks, precipitation averaged less than one inch across the state. Driving across the state this week, the crop progress varies. The corn, despite taking longer to plant, is reaching waist-high and in some areas head-high. And is looking promising.
By the end of the week, corn should be complete in most areas of the state. The state is on pace to plant an estimated 3.45 million corn acres, 150,000 acres less than last year. Still, it is the second highest total since 1960.
Soybean planting came a long way last week. With 4.6 days suitable for fieldwork according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), soybean planting was 84% complete. The NASS reports that Missouri farmers are on track to plant 5.7 million acres up from 5.4 million acres last year. Those soybean acres planted early are looking well, with over half of the acres reported in good or excellent condition.
Missouri farmers are also seeing wheat acres come along. Across the state 96% of the wheat crop started turning color. And harvest, albeit slow, is underway. Just 23% of the state is finished with wheat harvest.
The mix of warmer weather and precipitation vastly improved pasture conditions from last year. In June 2012, some farmers across the state already began feeding hay. Pastures were burning up and hay supply was short.
Move ahead to 2013 and 61% percent of the pastures are rated in good condition and 13% are even in excellent condition. There is more than an adequate supply of hay and forage. The NASS reports a 4% surplus in hay.
You never know
Despite the headaches of the wet planting season, for now, the weather and field conditions are cooperating. It is amazing the difference one year can make in a growing season. Here is to praying that the remainder of the season blesses us with rain and sunshine—at the right time and the right amount.