After an unusually cool start to August, it warmed up last week, and crops are starting to show signs of stress due to the lack of recent rains, according to the weekly crop update from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service office at Purdue University. The lack of rain and the heat started to sap soil moisture.
“Irrigation systems were running full force to try to keep up with the lack of rainfall. Some corn fields on light, well drained soils are showing signs of stress because of the dry conditions. Soybeans are in need of a good soaking rain to help with pod fill,” according to the report issued Monday, Aug. 26.
There’s not much chance for relief anytime soon, so those irrigation systems are likely to keep on running. As of Monday afternoon, the forecast from the National Weather Service office in North Webster calls for no more than a 30 percent chance of rain through the end of the week, while the heat in the 80s and 90s will continue.
Still, the major crops are in better shape than last year.Across Indiana, 72 percent of corn acreage was in good or excellent condition, compared to 10 percent at this point last year.
Soybean condition is 67 percent good or excellent, compared with 23 percent last year. Corn development remains behind the average pace, but soybean progress is right on target with the 5-year-average pace.
Livestock remained in good condition. Pasture conditions declined, but were still rated 51 percent good or excellent, compared to only 7 percent at this point last year. The third cutting of alfalfa is 82 percent finished, ahead of the average pace of 73 percent by this point.