Field Progress Report
March - Updates Provided by SFP Regional Account Managers
Posted on May 23, 2013
Topics: Industry Insight
Agriculture is an ever-changing industry with each season bringing another crop planted and another harvested. Each month SFP takes a look back and highlights major field activity across the nation.
Steady precipitation and below normal temperatures delayed field activities and planting across much of the country during April.
In early April, much of the Midwest experienced variable temperatures and steady moisture. Throughout the northern Midwest states, temperatures rose to the low 50s and then dropped below freezing again. The changing temperatures paired with snow and/or rain delayed field preparations and corn planting. Kansas wheat producers were concerned about freeze damage to their crops. During stretches of warmer weather, producers applied fertilizer to winter wheat and prepared for corn planting. As the month progressed, some North Dakota producers began to consider switching their corn acreage to other crops, such as canola and spring wheat. Although Nebraska received one to three inches of rainfall depending on location, much of the state was still under a large moisture deficit due to last year’s drought. Contrastingly, in Missouri and Southern Iowa, many creeks and streams were overflowing from rainfall, however the warmer temperatures were helping dry out fields. By the end of the month, temperatures began to warm up and producers were itching to get corn planted.
Throughout much of the Northeast the general field activities included applying fertilizer, spreading manure, liming and preparing fields for planting. In early April, Delaware producers fertilized small grains and barley was reported 48 percent good and 37 percent excellent. By mid-month, Indiana corn was reported one percent planted due to cold, wet conditions, approximately two weeks behind the 5-year average. Across the region, maple sugaring was underway and Michigan producers reported an excellent season. In the New England states, vegetable producers transplanted tomatoes into high tunnels and planted sweet corn along with early season vegetable crops. Furthermore, producers fertilized and applied fungicides to orchards. Moreover, growers began flooding cranberry bogs. New Jersey producers planted cabbage, herbs, greens and lettuces while parsley was nearly ready to harvest. By late April, Pennsylvania peaches were reported 36 percent in full bloom or past bloom compared to 99 percent last year and 56 percent on average. Cherries were reported 61 percent in full bloom or past bloom contrasted to 99 percent last year and 53 percent on average.1
Below normal temperatures took a toll on crops throughout the South. Producers who planted early corn in Texas and the southern Delta had problems with emergence and had to replant most of the acres during the middle of April. Multiple freezes during the first half of April damaged much of the winter wheat crop. A majority of the wheat was behind schedule and in the early boot stage leaving it susceptible to freeze damage. Moreover, Texas rice farmers along the Colorado River were told for the second year-in-a-row they will not receive water from the Highlands Lake system for crops because of low lake levels. By the middle and end of the month, producers were in the fields planting corn, however there’s a possibility of losing corn acres to beans, grain sorghum and cotton depending on the area and on weather conditions. Although much of the region had rainfall, the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles along with several other areas across the region are still incredibly dry.
In the Southeast, April began with below normal temperatures and wet conditions, but ended the month with slightly above normal temperatures allowing fields to dry out. Cool, wet conditions hampered nitrogen applications on winter wheat and field preparations in Alabama. Moreover, producers continued to feed hay because of slow pasture growth. In Kentucky, corn planting began about the second week of the month, but rainfall brought planting to stop until the end of the month. In South Carolina, the peach trees were in bloom by early April with some trees beginning to leaf out, however a freeze caused some damage to the crop. Poor weather conditions caused Florida farmers to replant corn and watermelons, while peanut planting and cabbage harvesting continued. During the last half of April, North Carolina experienced above average temperatures letting farmers plant corn and tobacco. Likewise, South Carolina producers were transplanting tobacco from greenhouses to the field. Corn planted early in the month in southern Kentucky had started emerging by month’s end. Additionally, canola was in full bloom and some early wheat varieties had started to head out.2
In the San Joaquin Valley of California, farmers began planting cotton during the first week of April. By the end of the month, the cotton planting was more than half complete across the state. California rice producers spent most of the month preparing rice fields and began planting toward month’s end. The wheat and barley crops had headed out by the end of April and winter forage crops continued to mature. In Utah, livestock were still calving and lambing. Approximately 75 percent of cows had calved compared to 67 percent last year and 34 percent on average. Sheep were reported in mostly fair to good condition at 32 percent and 58 percent, respectively. Similarly, in Wyoming, calving and lambing continued as well as barley and oat planting. Barley was reported as 68 percent planted compared to 82 percent in 2012 and oats were reported as 15 percent planted versus 38 percent last year. The Arizona alfalfa crop condition was reported in excellent to fair condition and more than three-quarters of the alfalfa acreage was harvested across the state.3
1-3U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service. 2013. Crop Progress – State Stories (April 2013)
June 17-21 – Florida Cattlemen’s Association, Marco Island, FL.
July 11-13 – 3i Show, Dodge City, KS.
July 15-15 – Farm Journal Corn College - Retailer/Consultant Session, Heyworth, IL .
July 16-16 – Corn College Advanced, Heyworth, IL .
July 17-18 – Corn College Advanced - Two Day Session, Heyworth, IL .
July 24-24 – Milan No-Till Field Day, Milan, TN .
July 29-29 – Corn College Retailer/Consultant Session, Coldwater, MI .
July 30-30 – Farm Journal Soybean College, Coldwater, MI.
July 31-1 – Farm Journal Corn College Fundamentals, Coldwater, MI .
August 3-7 – Ag Media Summit, Buffalo, NY .
August 6-8 – Minnesota Farm Fest, Redwood Falls, MN .
August 21-22 – MAGIE, Bloomington, IL .
August 27-29 – Farm Progress, Decatur, IL .
September 10-11 – Husker Harvest Days, Grand Island, NE.
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