Summer finally swept into the Northeast last week, bringing needed warm, drying weather to crop. Here's a quick look at crop growing conditions based on National Agricultural Statistics Service's Monday, June 24, reports.
Top soil moisture levels were near perfect – 100% and 96% adequate to surplus, respectively, in Delaware and Maryland. Corn crop condition was rated 66% good to excellent in Delaware and 87% in Maryland.
Soybean crop conditions were rated 60% good to excellent across Delaware and 80% for Maryland. Maryland appears headed for a very good winter wheat crop, with crop condition reported at 90% good to excellent going into pre-harvest. Only 64% of Delaware's wheat rated good to excellent.
Hay supplies were generally rated as adequate in both states. Pasture conditions were 92% good to excellent in Maryland and 80% in Delaware.
Sunny skies and warm weather dominated the region last week, helping to dry out wet soils. While top soil moisture generally rated 97% adequate to surplus, the rating was shifting to a higher percentage being adequate – the right direction.
The last of the field corn was planted last week. Silage corn was rated 95% good to fair, 5% better than 2012 and the five-year average.
First-crop hay pushed past the half-way mark, and was rated fair to good. Second cutting is projected to be good.
Good news for sweet corn eaters: New England's early corn was 90% emerged, well ahead of 2012 and the five-year average.
Potato and strawberry growers were still struggling with the effects of all the rain received this spring. It was most often noted in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Early June's heavy rains were still leaving footprints in the Garden State. Topsoil moisture levels were 70% adequate and 20% surplus, increasing disease pressure in many crops. But drier, warmer air was on the way.
Pasture conditions were 25% fair, 30% good and 45% excellent. No crop condition reports were provided for corn, soybeans or small grains.
The Empire State also was mudded down with heavy rains and high winds. Top soil moisture levels were 58% adequate and 41% surplus – highest surplus rating in the Northeast and substantially slowing first-cutting hay harvest.
Most corn was planted, but was rated at 32% fair, 52% good and 7% excellent. As of last week, only 76% of soybeans were planted, compared to 96% in 2012 and 95% for the five-year average. Soybean crop condition was rated 41% fair, 48% good and 5% excellent.
Vegetable crop progress also suffered from the wet weather. Sweet corn was 80% planted, compared to the 90% five-year average, and its condition also lagged with 34% reported in fair condition, 52% goo and 5% excellent.
Pastures flourished with last week's weather. Pasture quality was rated 5% poor, 22% fair, 55% good and 17% excellent.
Last week was an excellent one for Keystone State farmers, providing great growing weather for crops slightly behind normal crop progress. Topsoil moisture levels were rated 18% short, 73% adequate and 3% surplus.
Corn averaged 21 inches high, compared to the five-year average of 24 inches. Crop condition was reported 13% fair, 72% good and 15% excellent.
Soybeans were 95% planted and 83% emerged – behind last year's 87%, but ahead of the 81% five-year average. Soybean crop condition was reported as 20% fair, 59% good and 21% excellent.
Winter wheat conditions were 18% fair, 50% good and 30% excellent. But only 5% was ripe, compared to 33% this time last year and the five-year average of 20% ripe.
Pasture and forage crop conditions were generally good going into summer. Pasture conditions were 29% fair, 47% good and 12% excellent. Hay quality was rated 15% fair, 52% good and 28% excellent – good news for dairy and beef producers.
Alfalfa and timothy/clover stand conditions were rated 15% fair, 69% good and 14% excellent. Second-cutting alfalfa was 16% cut, behind last year's 37% cut at this time and the five-year average of 24% cut. The first cutting of timothy/clover was 82% complete, behind last year's 90%, but ahead of the 75% five-year average.