august 22 2022 us crop update

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US Crop Update – August 22, 2022

Summary

Steve Doench, Head of Sustainable Agronomy
Steve Doench, Technical Sales Agronomist
  1. 2022 US Crop Yield Estimates are declining as crop conditions degrade and enough dry areas exist to cap yield expectations. Rainfall and cooler weather did recently help in many areas. The sum of late planting and periods of heat and dryness this summer has prevented yield potential from reaching record levels and final yield will hinge on how well grain fill finishes.

  2. Widespread rainfall this past week helped western Iowa the most. Cooler weather also is beneficial to grain fill and reducing water stress. A quick trip to parts of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa shows many crops under drought stress. Corn appeared to retain decent kernel numbers, but likely will have smaller kernel size/weights and lower yield potential. Soybeans are setting fewer pods than normal and have a higher risk of lower-than-expected yields in drier areas than corn which was largely able to pollinate well.

  3. The forecast continues to show a warmer and drier finish to the crop season in the central and northern corn-belt. Short-term cooler conditions in the eastern corn-belt are helpful, but the lack of widespread rainfall continues to hurt grain fill in the western corn-belt.

Corn and Soybean Crop Condition

Crop condition ratings continue to drop as many areas are very dry and in need of rain to finish well this crop season. Cooler temperatures are slowing ratings from slipping further.

Data from Unites States Department of Agriculture.  https://www.nass.usda.gov/

Weather impacts

Precipitation

august 2022 weekly precipitation map

Weekly precipitation

The past weeks’ rainfall coverage helped in western Iowa the most, but in many already drought-stricken areas, it might not have been sufficient to positively influence kernel size/weight and overall yield potential. 

august 2022 precipitation to date

August precipitation to date

normal august precipitation percent

Normal precipitation % for August

Temperature

August temperatures started out well above normal, but have since cooled off. These cooler temperatures are helping extend grain fill duration and reduce water stress.

Corn and soybean crop progress has almost caught up to normal levels even after a generally warmer than normal summer. 

Drought Monitor

Drought remains firmly in place for the western corn-belt and is starting to be problematic for winter wheat establishment this fall in areas like Kansas. Drought carryover into 2023 is also a concernThis long-term drought in the western corn-belt and southern plains will require a wet fall and winter to reverse prior to next season’s spring planted crops. 

Data from US Drought Monitor

Western Iowa and Eastern Nebraska Conditions

With many fields under stress, a below-normal yield potential is expected. The outcome from the stress will likely be small kernels in corn while soybeans will struggle to set and fill pods. 

western iowa corn and soybean progress

Corn and soybean progress in western Iowa

September outlook

For long-term forecasts, GFS and ECMWF agree on continued warmer and drier conditions to the north and beneficial wetter and cooler conditions in the south, especially in Texas. 

GFS long-term forecasts

ECMWF long-term forecasts

In short-term weather outlooks, GFS and ECMWF differ. The GFS predicts much drier conditions with an east/west split in warmer west and cooler east. ECMWF forecasts show more scattered rains and a north/south split with warmer conditions in the north and cooler than normal in the south.  

Neither forecast confidently shows a sign of widespread precipitation that is needed to maintain yield expectations going into September. 

GFS short-term forecasts

ECMWF short-term forecasts

Corn tar spot and fungicide applications

Lots of fungicide applications have been completed for the much-anticipated corn tar spot. So far it is not as widespread as 2021 and is running out of time to have any major implications on yield and stalk quality. In Wisconsin, repetitive storms over the past month have helped corn tar spot spread. In eastern Nebraska, confirmed corn tar spot sightings are something to watch going forward as irrigated corn fields create an ideal environment for disease development. 

corn tar spot sightings 2022

2022 corn tar spot sightings

Conclusions

As a result of early-mid season drought, corn is showing smaller kernel sizes and soybeans show similar stress with below-average pod sizes. Both are signs of a lower yield potential than normal. Long-term forecasts predict warm, dry conditions in the north and wet, cool conditions in the south. The limited rainfall in short-term forecasts leaves concern for reaching yield expectations going into September. Corn tar spot seems to be more controlled this year, but will be something to watch in irrigated areas as the environment becomes more ideal for disease development. 

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