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Northeast corn, soybean and forage crops were well watered before this week's rains according to USDA crop watchers.

John Vogel, Editor, American Agriculturist

June 11, 2013

4 Min Read

Much of the Northeast started off this week with a "soaker", adding one to two inches of rainfall to this spring's total, according to AccuWeather forecasters. But here's a quick look at crop growing conditions based on National Agricultural Statistics Service's June 10 reports across the Northeast.

Delaware/Maryland
Going into corn's rapid growth phase, 88% of Maryland's corn crop rated good to excellent while 87% of Delaware's corn made that grade. Some 89% of Maryland's soybean crop rated good to excellent; 73% of Delaware's beans rated so, with another 26% rated as fair.

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Topsoil moisture levels in Maryland were rated 95% adequate to surplus, up from last week's 87%. Delaware wasn't far behind with 92% of topsoil moisture rated at adequate to surplus, up from 76% a week ago.

Maryland's barley crop, while close to harvest, rated as 86% good to excellent while Delaware's barley rated 68% good to excellent. Maryland's winter wheat condition is 89% good to excellent and Delaware's is 72% good to excellent.

Pasture conditions are holding up with Maryland reporting 85% good to excellent and Delaware reporting 70% good to excellent.

New England
Already saturated, the six New England states weren't exactly wanting of the storm front moving up the East Coast this week. Maine potato growers were already reporting losses due to submerged fields and washed out seed pieces. Vegetable growers generally needed this week to be warm and dry.

Except for first-cutting hay, field crop development was further along than the five-year average. Silage corn for instance 80% emerged, compared to only 65% emerged last year.

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Topsoil moisture levels for last week were 58% adequate and 42% surplus. That's to be expected with precipitation averages across the region ranging from 1.70 inches to 4.63 inches – more than 5 inches in Rhode Island and in deluged spots of Connecticut.

Crop reporters say farmers are concerned about nitrogen leaching. They're already on alert for late blight and downy mildew.

New Jersey
Rain was again the word as New Jersey received 3 to more than 4 inches of water last week, and more forecasted for the next couple days. As of Monday, topsoil moisture levels were 65% adequate and 30% surplus.

Pasture conditions were rated 25% fair, 40% good and 35% excellent. One crop concern was noted. Performance of pesticides requiring a rain-free period after application could be adversely affected.

New York
Tropical Storm Andrea caused wind damage, hail and downpours across central and eastern New York State. Statewide, topsoil moisture was rated 42% adequate and 58% surplus.

Oats condition was rated 75% good and 14% excellent. Winter wheat was rated 62% good and 23% excellent. Hay crops were 58% good and 22% excellent.

Pastures rated 19% fair, 60% good and 19% excellent. So far, that spells a good season for grazing and needed forage stockpiling.

Forage harvests generally were running at last year's pace, except for grass silage cuttings which was 66% complete compared to 75% last year. Corn planting was 92% finished, slightly ahead of last year.

But soybean planting was far off pace. Only 64% of beans were planted compared to 81% in 2012 and 90% for the five-year average.

Some farmers were thinking of switching intended corn fields to soybeans. But wet soils delayed any action, including herbicide application.

Pennsylvania
Last week was generally a good one for Keystone State farmers, thanks to much needed late-week rains. Topsoil moisture was rated 79% adequate and 10% surplus.

Corn emergence was generally ahead of normal progress. But corn height was reported behind last year's progress and slightly behind the five-year average. Corn condition was generally good with 71% rated good and 13% rated excellent.

Intended soybean planting hit the 87% mark, ahead of last year's 83% and the five-year average of 53% planted. Soybean condition was rated 56% good and 25% excellent.

Cereal crop development progress is lagging behind normal progress. But winter wheat condition was rated 55% good and 32% excellent. Oats was rated 62% good and 19% excellent.

Forage crops were generally doing well. Some 73% of alfalfa stands and 80% of timothy-clover stands were rated good to excellent. First-cutting hay quality averaged 19% fair, 45% good and 23% excellent.

"Lush" was the word for pastures in Pennsylvania. Some 50% were rated good and 26% were rated excellent. Here, too, are opportunities for extra hay harvest and stockpiling.    .

About the Author(s)

John Vogel

Editor, American Agriculturist

For more than 38 years, John Vogel has been a Farm Progress editor writing for farmers from the Dakota prairies to the Eastern shores. Since 1985, he's been the editor of American Agriculturist – successor of three other Northeast magazines.

Raised on a grain and beef farm, he double-majored in Animal Science and Ag Journalism at Iowa State. His passion for helping farmers and farm management skills led to his family farm's first 209-bushel corn yield average in 1989.

John's personal and professional missions are an integral part of American Agriculturist's mission: To anticipate and explore tomorrow's farming needs and encourage positive change to keep family, profit and pride in farming.

John co-founded Pennsylvania Farm Link, a non-profit dedicated to helping young farmers start farming. It was responsible for creating three innovative state-supported low-interest loan programs and two "Farms for the Future" conferences.

His publications have received countless awards, including the 2000 Folio "Gold Award" for editorial excellence, the 2001 and 2008 National Association of Ag Journalists' Mackiewicz Award, several American Agricultural Editors' "Oscars" plus many ag media awards from the New York State Agricultural Society.

Vogel is a three-time winner of the Northeast Farm Communicators' Farm Communicator of the Year award. He's a National 4-H Foundation Distinguished Alumni and an honorary member of Alpha Zeta, and board member of Christian Farmers Outreach.

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