Optimism Well Isn't Dry Just Yet

Wheat crop fairs well and other crops are rebounding some with recent rains.

Published on: Aug 17, 2012
Recent rains have brought some welcome relief to thirsty corn fields, but it has been scattered and, in some areas, too little too late. According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Michigan Field Office, more than half of the state's corn crop is in poor or very poor condition.

"Field corn is most severely impacted by the drought. Record heat hampered pollination to a point where it's very difficult to predict with any certainty what the actual crop will be, both in terms of actual bushels per acre and with respect to the actual acres that'll be harvested, as opposed to chopped for silage or abandoned altogether," Boehm said. "But we're on the northern edge of the Corn Belt and better off than states south of us, where corn comprises a much larger portion of their overall farm economy."

Conversely, 60% of soybeans are in fair or good condition, as well as more than 70% of dry beans.

"Soys seem to have been able to handle the drought well so far," Boehm said. "They aren't growing rapidly, but they're in kind of a holding pattern, waiting for rain."

Recent rains were sufficient for most soybean plants to set pods—a critical milestone in the plant's development.

"Soybean crops are typically made with August rains, while corn is built on July moisture," Boehm said. "I think we can still hope for a decent soybean crop here in Michigan, if we get some rain in August."