Home > News > USDA Weekly Crop Progress: Midwest

USDA will begin this growing season’s series of Weekly Crop Progress reports on Monday, April 4. Many state National Ag Statistics Service offices released reports Monday. Here are highlights compiled by NASS for selected states.


Topsoil moisture 4% short, 77% adequate, 19% surplus. Subsoil moisture 3% short, 87% adequate, 10% surplus. Winter wheat condition 5% poor, 28% fair, 50% good, 17% excellent. Statewide, temperatures for the month of March averaged 46.1 degrees Fahrenheit, 5.9 degrees above normal. Precipitation averaged 2.33 inches, 0.26 inch below normal. Preparation for spring planting is in full swing across Illinois with operators applying fertilizer and performing spring fieldwork.


Topsoil moisture 2% short, 70% adequate, 28% surplus. Subsoil moisture 1% very short, 7% short, 73% adequate, 19% surplus. Winter wheat condition, 1% very poor, 2% poor, 18% fair, 61% good, 18% excellent. Temperatures for the month averaged 46.8 degrees, 7 degrees above normal. Statewide average precipitation was 3.40 inches, 0.63 inch above normal. A mild winter season came to a wet close by the end of March, with an unexpected snow storm at the beginning of the month followed by heavy rains towards the end of the month.

The above-average precipitation and unseasonably warm temperatures brought much of the winter wheat crop out of dormancy. Despite some reports of burnt tips on wheat, farmers have reported an improvement in the color and have begun to topdress the crop with nitrogen. Pastures were beginning to green up with the spring conditions and there seems to be adequate hay supplies and forage for livestock coming out of winter. Spring calving is well underway for most of the state. Spring rains have saturated soils and have led to localized flooding in low lying areas, limiting early fieldwork activities for farmers. When conditions have permitted, farmers have been applying fertilizer to fields, spraying herbicides on cover crops, replacing drain tile, burning ditch banks and fencerows, tilling fields, hauling grain, and signing up for FSA farm programs.


Topsoil moisture 0% very short, 2% short, 80% adequate, and 18% surplus. Iowa experienced above-normal temperatures for the month of March. Frequent showers and snow the last week of the month left fields and roads soft and muddy. Average statewide snow depth as March came to a close was 0 inches. Fieldwork activities for the month of March included dry fertilizer and anhydrous applications. Grain movement in March rated 35% moderate to heavy, up from the previous month but similar to the previous year. Hay and roughage supplies were 92% adequate to surplus, comparable to last year at this time. Calving is underway in many parts of the state.


At the end of the month, topsoil moisture supplies rated 10% very short, 38% short, 51% adequate, and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 8% very short, 30% short, 61% adequate, and 1% surplus. Winter wheat condition rated 1% very poor, 6% poor, 37% fair, 49% good and 1% excellent; jointing, 30%, 12% 2015, 16% avg. Corn planted 2%, 0% 2015, 0% avg. Hay and Roughage supplies were rated 0% very short, 5% short, 85% adequate, 10% surplus. Stock water supplies were rated 4% very short, 15% short, 80% adequate, and 1% surplus. Cattle and Calves condition rated 0% very poor, 2% poor, 23% fair, 69% good and 6% excellent. Cattle and calves death loss rated 1% heavy, 59% average and 40% light. Calving progress 74%. March temperatures averaged 4 to 6 degrees above normal. Precipitation was below normal, with most areas receiving 1-2 inches of precipitation. At the end of the month, range fires were active in parts of the state.


Topsoil moisture 1% short, 49% adequate, and 50% surplus. Subsoil moisture 4% short, 72% adequate, and 24% surplus. Winter wheat condition rated 1% very poor, 2% poor, 23% fair, 47% good, and 27% excellent. Temperatures remained above average for most of the month. Daytime high temperatures during the second week of March peaked in the 60s and 70s on multiple days. No counties were classified as either abnormally dry or in drought during March, as above-average precipitation throughout the month coupled with snow melt kept topsoil and subsoil moisture levels higher than normal.

The month began with a major storm which brought heavy wet snow to much of the state on March 1-2. A large portion of the Lower Peninsula received 4-8 inches of snow, but snowfall totals in the Central and Thumb regions reported receiving up to 14 inches of snow. A slow moving storm system also brought 3/4 to 1.5 inches of precipitation to the state on March 15-17, with some areas of the Upper Peninsula reporting 2-3 inches, much of this in the form of snow. Another storm system on March 23-24 brought rain and snow from the Central Lower Peninsula to the Eastern Upper Peninsula. As this system pushed northward, warmer air allowed the precipitation to turn to liquid, which caused some icing to occur; between a tenth-inch and a quarter-inch of ice were reported in areas around the Saginaw Valley and the Thumb, bringing concerns of damage to exposed winter wheat.

By month’s end, fields in the north were still snow covered while fields further south were mostly too wet to work. Winter wheat has been greening up and is starting to grow. Some fertilizer was applied to wheat fields where dry conditions existed. Other activities included frost seeding of red clover in wheat, manure spreading, preparing for spring fertilizer applications, and getting equipment ready for field work.


A cold and snowy start to March gave way to a period of warmer-than-normal temperatures. The March 1 snowstorm brought a few inches of snow to much of southern Minnesota and many communities in northern Minnesota experienced subzero temperatures. Sunshine and strong winds brought short-lived record warmth to many parts of the State on March 8, in some areas lasting just a few hours before dropping by 30 degrees F or more. Ahead of the warm front, thunderstorms and hail were reported in northeast Minnesota. Record-high temperatures were also seen March 12 and 13, with high temperatures rising into the upper 60s and 70s. A period of heavy precipitation followed, mostly as rain, but with some significant snowfall in northeastern Minnesota.

A snowstorm on March 23-24 brought snowfall amounts ranging mostly from 2 to 9 inches across southern Minnesota, with 11.2 inches reported at Wabasha and 11 inches reported at Ellendale. Most of the snow melted, with little snow cover remaining by the end of the month. The preliminary statewide average temperature for the month was 7.8 degrees F above average. The preliminary statewide average precipitation was 0.56 inch above normal, driven by higher-than-normal precipitation in the eastern portion of the state. Some areas in western and central Minnesota experienced below-normal levels of precipitation. With continued warm temperatures, many areas report little to no snow cover remaining. As a result, fieldwork has begun early in some areas this year. Reported activities include manure and fertilizer application, tillage, and readying equipment. Livestock producers have continued calving and lambing. Livestock conditions were generally described as very good. Feed supply continues to be adequate.


Topsoil moisture 7% very short, 13% short, 70% adequate, 10% surplus. Subsoil moisture 7% very short, 13% short, 76% adequate, 4% surplus. Hay and roughage supplies 1% very short, 12% short, 78% adequate, 9% surplus. Stock water supplies 1% very short, 14% short, 83% adequate, 2% surplus. Winter Wheat condition 1% very poor, 4% poor, 25% fair, 62% good, 8% excellent. Corn planting has started. Some producers expressed concern about the lack of rain and dry conditions.


Topsoil moisture 2% very short, 15% short, 79% adequate, and 4% surplus. Subsoil moisture 3% very short, 14% short, 78% adequate, and 5% surplus. Winter wheat condition 0% very poor, 2% poor, 35% fair, 49% good, 14% excellent. Stock water supplies 0% very short, 3% short, 94% adequate, and 3% surplus. Hay and roughage supplies 0% very short, 4% short, 92% adequate, 4% surplus. Cattle and calves condition, 0% very poor, 1% poor, 10% fair, 70% good, 19% excellent. Calving, 50% complete. Cattle and calves death loss, 1% heavy, 67% average, 32% heavy. Temperatures averaged 2 to 8 degrees above normal. Late in the month, snowfall of varying amounts was experienced in portions of the state. Fieldwork activities included tillage and fertilizer application.


Topsoil moisture 8% very short, 26% short, 64% adequate, 2% surplus. Subsoil moisture 3% very short, 26% short, 68% adequate, 3% surplus. Winter wheat condition, 2% very poor, 3% poor, 30% fair, 63% good, 2% excellent. Cattle and calves condition, 0% very poor, 0% poor, 9% fair, 77% good, 14% excellent. Calving, 11% complete. Cattle and calves death loss, 0% heavy, 55% average, 45% light. Hay and roughage supplies, 1% very short, 4% short, 87% adequate, 8% surplus. Stock water supplies, 4% very short, 9% short, 83% adequate, 4% surplus. Temperatures averaged 6 or more degrees above normal. Precipitation up to an inch covered most of the state with 2 inches or more in the east. The warm conditions limited livestock losses and hay usage. Producers were preparing for spring fieldwork.


Topsoil moisture 2% short, 63% adequate, and 35% surplus. Subsoil moisture 5% short, 71% adequate, 24% surplus. Winter wheat condition rated 15% fair, 56% good, and 29% excellent. The March 2016 statewide average temperature was 46.0 degrees F, 7.4 degrees above normal. Precipitation averaged 3.23 inches statewide, which was 0.68 inch above normal for the month of March. Unusually warm weather this month led to early green up in wheat, hay, and pastures. The state saw precipitation slightly above normal, causing some sporadic instances of standing water. Wheat is in great condition at the moment, though there were some worries that the advanced maturity seen in wheat fields makes them more vulnerable to any prolonged temperature drops. Growers were beginning to topdress wheat and haul manure. Spring calving and lambing is also underway.


Oklahoma experienced warm and dry weather, with occasional rainy, cold fronts, for the month of March. The heaviest rains were received in the south-central, southwest, and southeast districts. According to the Oklahoma Mesonet, the weather was the driest on the northwest of the state and the wettest in the southeast. Precipitation across the state averaged 2.28 inches, ranging from 0.39 inch in the Panhandle district to 5.61 inches in the southeast district. Statewide temperatures averaged in the low 50s, with the lowest recording of 8 degrees at Kenton on Sunday, March 20, and the highest recording of 89 degrees at Beaver on Tuesday, March 22. Topsoil and subsoil moisture conditions were rated mostly adequate to short.


Topsoil moisture 6% very short, 24% short, 65% adequate, 5% surplus. Subsoil moisture 7% very short, 26% short, 64% adequate, 3% surplus. Winter wheat condition 0% very poor, 1% poor, 37% fair, 55% good, and 7% excellent. Stock water supplies 3% very short, 21% short, 73% adequate, 3% surplus. Hay and forage supplies 0% very poor, 3% poor, 88% adequate, and 9% excellent. Cattle and calf conditions 0% very poor, 0% poor, 19% fair, 73% good, 8% excellent. Cattle and calf death loss 0% heavy, 59% average, 41% light. Calving progress 15%. Sheep and lamb condition 0% very poor, 0% poor, 27% fair, 65% good, 8% excellent. The mild temperatures were beneficial for calving and early fieldwork. Late season winter storms brought rain and snow to parts of the state. However, most locations reported below average precipitation for the month.


March temperatures at the five major weather stations ranged from 4.9 to 7.7 degrees above normal. Average highs ranged from 43.8 in Green Bay to 49.2 in La Crosse, while average lows ranged from 28.2 to 32.2 in those same cities. Precipitation was above average at all stations and ranged from 2.68 inches in La Crosse to 3.30 inches in Eau Claire. La Crosse received the most snowfall out of the major cities with 12.3 inches. Madison received the least, with 4.0 inches of snow for the month. Above normal temperatures and frequent rains thawed the ground and kept snow cover minimal during March. A large winter storm dropped heavy snow and ice over much of the State during the third week of the month, but reporters noted that snow cover was quick to melt. Some reporters saw manure spreading and early tillage activities, but soils in many areas were too muddy to support machinery. Winter wheat and alfalfa were reportedly greening up statewide. Reporters commented that maple sap collection was stop and go, with an unusually early start to the season and several interruptions due to above-freezing nights.


Topsoil moisture 3% very short, 13% short, 71% adequate, 13% surplus. Subsoil moisture 7% very short, 21% short, 72% adequate. Barley planted 34%, 18% 2015. Winter wheat condition 34% fair, 59% good, 7% excellent. Hay and roughage supplies 6% short, 55% adequate, 39% surplus. Livestock condition 1% poor, 11% fair, 84% good, 4% excellent. Stock water supplies 8% short, 91% adequate, 1% surplus. Pasture and range condition 8% poor, 32% fair, 58% good, 2% excellent. Cows calved 21%, 20% 2015. Cattle and calf death loss 40% average, 60% light.

Source: Agfax


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