Crop Insurance Today Second Quarter 2019 - 9

Crop Conditions

The U.S. corn crop began the year in a favorable position with 79 percent of the corn acreage
rated good to excellent condition, better than
2017 at the same period when 65 percent of the
crop was rated in this range (Figure 5). The corn
crop continued to develop well with 77 percent of
the crop with a good to excellent condition rating
at the end of June, ten percentage points above
the ratings for last year's crop at that time. Grow-

U.S. Crop Conditions, 2018
Figure 5 Percentage of Crop Rated Good or Execllent
90
80
70
60
Percent

Atlantic States, northern New England, and the
northernmost Plains. Dry conditions also continued in the West, with poor topsoil moisture
conditions in Oregon, Utah, Idaho, California,
and Washington.
Dryness was much more widespread across
the West, leaving topsoil moisture at least twothirds very short to short by September 2 in
Oregon (98 percent), Utah (76 percent), Idaho (74 percent), California (70 percent), and
Washington (68 percent). The dry conditions
and late August extreme heat contributed to
continuing problems with wildfires. By the end
of August, more than 6.8 million acres nationally had burned, about 130 percent above the
10-year average.
For the rest of the country, summer concluded with some near or below normal temperatures
from the northern and central Plains and in the
mid-South and Southeast. Favorable growing
conditions for corn and soybeans occurred in
the Midwest with near or slightly above normal
August temperatures. Texas ended the summer
with above normal temperatures and extremely
hot weather prevailed in the Northeast.
The summer of 2018 was one of record
warmth and extreme regional variation in precipitation. Nebraska was the only state that had
near average June-August temperatures. All others experienced above-average warmth. Summer
minimum temperatures were above average in
every state. It is also important to note that overnight low temperatures have been increasing.
This is of keen interest as higher nighttime temperatures, if they continue upward, can negatively affect corn yields.
During the hot summer, moisture levels were
highly variable with above average rainfall experienced from the Great Plains to the East Coast
and much above-average precipitation in parts
of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. In contrast below-average precipitation was the rule in most of
the West and parts of the South.

50
40
30
20
10
0
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44
Weekly (5/27 to 11/4)
Source: USDA, National Agricultural Staticstics Service, Crop Progress Report
http://www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats

ing conditions continued to favor corn production and, by the end of July, 72 percent of the crop
was in the good to excellent range, 11 percent
better than last year. Over the rest of the growing
season the corn crop remained robust and, by the
end September, 69 percent of the crop continued
to be rated in good to excellent condition, six
percentage points above last year's ratings.
Late-spring warmth resulted in rapid germination and growth of the nation's soybean crop.
By the first of June, 68 percent of the crop had
emerged, far in advance of the five-year average
of 52 percent. The crop continued to thrive in
most areas, and at the end of June 73 percent of
the crop was rated good to excellent, well above
the previous five-year average of 68 percent.
Over the remainder of the season, soybean crop
conditions weakened somewhat with around 66
percent of the crop rated in the good to excellent
range, but still up from 61 percent in 2017.
A series of bad weather events combined to
produce poor conditions in the 2018 U.S. cotton
crop. Beginning the year with only 42 percent of
the nation's crop rated in the good to excellent
range, and it did not improve going forward.
Over the entire growing season, the cotton crop
condition never exceeded those of the previous
four years. By the end of October only 35 percent of the nation's cotton crop was rated in the
good to excellent range, compared to around 55
percent the previous year. Hurricanes Florence in
the Carolinas and Michael in Florida and Georgia
devastated promising crops and excessive heat

and drought plagued Texas dryland production.
The spring wheat crop bounced back from
2017's poor performance with 70 percent of U.S.
t acreage rated in good to excellent condition on
June 3, up 15 percent from last year. By the first
part of July 77 percent of the spring wheat crop
was rated in the good to excellent range, up 40
percent from the previous year. The crop continued to hold steady throughout the year with 74
percent reported in good to excellent condition
at the last reported date of August 19, compared
to 34 percent in 2017.
Fall 2018: The headlines of the fall weather season began with the first of two disastrous
weather events. Hurricane Florence struck the
southern Mid-Atlantic coast as a Category 1 hurricane on September 14, producing catastrophic
flooding in parts of the eastern Carolinas. The
storm resulted in damage to poultry and hog
producers, as well as what had been promising
cotton, peanut, and soybean crops. Around the
same time, Tropical Storm Gordon contributed
to heavy rain in the Ohio Valley and northern
Mid-Atlantic region, while Tropical Depression
Nineteen-E, resulted in increased rainfall totals
in the south-central part of the country. In contrast, drier-than-normal conditions prevailed in
the West. Wildfires that had ravaged the western
region earlier subsided somewhat with less than
a million acres of vegetation reported to have
burned during September. However, by the end
of September, wildfires consumed approximately 7.8 million acres nationally, about 130 perCROPINSURANCE TODAY®

9


http://www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats

Crop Insurance Today Second Quarter 2019

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