Here's a peek at Northeast crop conditions based on National Agricultural Statistics Service's Oct. 21 reports.
Last week's 5 to 6 inches of rain swamped the harvest process. But crop reporters say grain corn harvest was 79% complete in Maryland and 90% done in Delaware.
Farmers are generally happy with full-season soybean yields. But dry early fall weather put a crimp on non-irrigated double-crop bean yields. No comments on corn.
Cover crop and winter grains are doing much better, especially with the recent rains. Pasture conditions were rated mostly fair to good in both states. And the fourth cuttings of alfalfa were 90% and 93% complete in Delaware and Maryland, respectively.
Rainfall – lots of it – has dominated New England crop conditions all growing season. In some oareas of Vermont, for instance, the wet growing season caused estimated 15% to 30% corn yield losses and light test weights of harvested corn.
While a few farmers were still struggling to harvest their second hay cutting, most were completing their third cuttings. While top soil moisture was generally adequate, pasture growth was beginning to slow with the cooler temperatures.
The recent stretch of fair weather – and very little killing frost yet – has continued vegetable harvest and cover crop plantings. Apple crop expectations were high due to above average fruit set, size and quality. Cranberry harvest in Massachusetts was in full swing with a favorable production output.
Field corn harvest was 90% complete, right on the five-year average. Northern corn leaf blight was blamed for yield declines in many northern New England fields.
Just a few comments were reported. Warmer drier weather helped crop progress across the board. Topsoil moisture was 80% adequate to surplus, boosting pasture conditions to 77% good to excellent.
Field corn and soybean harvest were well underway, with reduced yield expectations in some counties due to the mid-summer drought. But the same conditions proved to be a blessing to boost sugar content in grapes.