Crop Explorer - Production Briefs - United States


May 9 2008 | World Oilseed Production to Increase in 2008/09
World oilseed production for 2008/09 is forecast at 423 million tons, up 32 million tons from 2007/08. Despite high prices for inputs such as diesel fuel and fertilizers, the high oilseed prices are providing incentive to plant, especially in countries that have seen a weakening in their currencies. Total U.S. oilseed production is forecast at 93 million tons, up 13 million, and total foreign production is forecast at 329 million tons, up 19 million. (For more information, contact Paul Provance at 202-720-0873.)

May 12 2006 | World Cotton Production Marginally Higher for 2006/07
World cotton production for 2006/07 is forecast at 115.0 million bales, a 1.4-percent increase from the 2005/06 crop and the second largest crop on record. Foreign production is projected to rise 5 percent, including a 7-percent increase in production by China. China's planted area is expected to rise in response to higher prices received for the 2005 crop. Higher anticipated foreign production is partially offset by lower output in the United States, based on a return to normal abandonment and yields. U.S. production is forecast at 20.7 million bales, 13 percent below last season's record. (For more information, contact Bryan Purcell at 202-690-0138.)

May 12 2006 | World Oilseed Production Slightly Lower for 2006/07
World oilseed production for 2006/07 is forecast at 390 million tons, 1 million lower than last year. High input costs, because of increased fuel costs and the need to combat soybean rust, are dampening enthusiasm for planting oilseeds. Output in the United States is forecast to decline 2 percent to 95 million tons, returning to more normal yields after excellent oilseed yields last year. Total foreign oilseed production is expected to be virtually unchanged at 295 million tons. Output may return to normal in countries that saw high yields last year as producers in some other countries face continued economic difficulties. (For more information, contact Paul Provance at 202-720-0873.)

May 12 2006 | Global Wheat Output In 2006/07 Expected To Decline For A Second Year
Total global wheat production for 2006/07 is forecast at 600 million tons, down 20 million or 3 percent from last year. Production is down for a second year in a row. Last year, the decrease was due to smaller crops in the European Union and Argentina. This year, smaller crops are expected in India, United States, Russia and Ukraine. While wheat crops in the European Union are expected to increase marginally from 2005/06, the wheat crop in Argentina is forecast to increase significantly. Global area is forecast slightly lower than last year at 214 million hectares, with the most significant decreases expected to come from crops in India, Russia, and Ukraine. The most significant yield decreases are forecast for the United States and Ukraine, dropping by 3 percent and 27 percent, respectively. Recent increases in prices for U.S. wheat futures are the result of lower prospects for the United States wheat crop. The US crop is forecast at 51 million tons, down 11 percent from last year mainly due to unfavorable winter and spring weather. Wheat crops in India, Russia, Ukraine, and Romania are forecast to be significantly smaller compared to 2005/06. These crops and that of the rest of the northern hemisphere were mostly planted in the fall and will be harvested in the summer. India's crop is already being harvested and is expected to have deteriorated due to unfavorable weather during pollination. Russia's winter crop is expected to be in good condition in the southern region, but in less than good condition elsewhere. Ukraine's crop is reduced because of lower planted area and severe fall dryness. These decreases more than offset expected increases in European Union, Argentina, and North Africa. Production forecasts for the top exporters are slightly lower than last year's levels. The United States, Australia, Canada, European Union, Russia, and Argentina are forecast at a combined 285 million tons, representing a 2-percent drop from 2005/06. On the import side, the top net importers (who are also producers) are North Africa, Egypt, and Brazil. A very good crop is forecast for North Africa. Egypt's crop is estimated similar to last year, and Brazil is forecast to have slightly lower output. (For more information, contact Michelle de Graaf at 202-720-7339.)

Jun 1 1999 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
May began with warmer, drier weather and gusty winds that rapidly removed excess moisture from soggy soils in the Corn Belt. The dry weather allowed corn planting to move ahead of the 5-year average for the first time this spring, as planters ran nearly around the clock for several days in many areas of the Corn Belt. Soybean planting remained slow, as the western Corn Belt concentrated on planting corn. In the eastern Corn Belt, especially in Ohio, soybean planting advanced more rapidly, as warmer, drier weather prevailed. Early-month thunderstorms that produced isolated hail, severe tornadoes, and heavy rains damaged some wheat fields in eastern Oklahoma and adjacent areas of Kansas and Missouri. The Tennessee Valley, and adjacent areas of the Southeast and lower Mississippi Valley, also received heavy rains that halted fieldwork and delayed planting. In the Atlantic Coastal Plains, planting progress lagged due to dry soils. Planting rapidly progressed in the lower Mississippi Valley despite rain delays in Mississippi. Persistent showers interrupted planting of small grains in the northern Great Plains, while drier weather aided planting in the High Plains and northern Rockies. Interior areas of the Pacific Northwest remained unfavorably dry, but crops steadily developed in California, despite a resumption of below-normal temperatures. Corn and soybean planting remained ahead of normal as the month progressed despite additional rain delays in the western Corn Belt near mid-month. Warm weather aided crop development in the eastern Corn Belt, while the rain in the western Corn Belt softened crusted soils and allowed sprouted seeds to emerge. Storms in the southern Great Plains kept soils excessively wet in western Missouri and eastern parts of Kansas and Oklahoma. In the northern Great Plains, planting delays continued due to additional rainfall and poor drying conditions, while below-normal temperatures hindered development of seeded crops. Seasonable temperatures aided wheat development in the eastern Corn Belt and central and southern Great Plains. In the Atlantic Coastal Plains, planting accelerated after soils dried from earlier showers. Cotton planting was aided by dry, sunny weather in the Southeast and inland areas of the lower Mississippi Valley. Soaking rains provided much-needed moisture for planting and crop development along the western Gulf Coast. In the Pacific Northwest, dry soils continued to stress small grains, while cool weather hindered growth. Thunderstorms continued to delay planting in the western Corn Belt and adjacent areas of the central and southern Great Plains until well after mid-month. Hail, erosion, flooding, and standing water associated with the severe storms damaged crops in parts of Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Lighter rainfall in the eastern Corn Belt and lower Mississippi Valley caused minimal planting delays, while providing good moisture for crop development. In the Northeast, soaking rains temporarily eased drought conditions in most areas, but coastal areas of the middle and southern Atlantic Coast States remained excessively dry. Planting was hindered by dry soils in many areas of the Southeast, especially Georgia which received no significant rainfall, while eastern and southern Texas received timely showers that boosted crop development. Dry weather aided planting and seasonable temperatures promoted crop development in the central High Plains, while wet conditions lingered in parts of the northern Great Plains. In the Pacific Northwest, drought conditions hindered development of nonirrigated small grains. Field activities progressed normally in California, and most crops rapidly developed, as dry, seasonal weather prevailed. Dry, sunny weather removed excess soil moisture in many areas of the Corn Belt and northern Great Plains late in the month, allowing many growers to finish planting corn and soybeans. By the end of the month, corn planting was nearly finished and soybean planting was ahead of normal. Dry weather also aided planting in the Southeast and Atlantic Coastal Plains, but severe moisture shortages hindered crop emergence and stunted growth. Heavy rains delayed planting in the southern Great Plains late in the month. Hail and strong winds associated with the thunderstorms damaged some wheat fields and row crops in Texas and parts of Oklahoma. Crops were stressed by continued drought conditions in the Pacific Northwest. In California, dry conditions aided fieldwork and warmer weather accelerated crop development. As the month came to an end, corn was 96 percent and soybeans were 71 percent planted. Eighty percent of the corn acreage and 37 percent of the soybean crop was emerged. Planting and emergence of both crops equaled or exceeded the normal pace in most of the Corn Belt. Eighty percent of the winter wheat crop was headed and 2 percent of the acreage was harvested at month's end, near the normal pace for both stages. Cotton planting, at 82 percent, and cotton squaring, at 7 percent, were near the 5-year averages. Rice planting was nearly complete, at 98 percent, and 93 percent was emerged, well ahead of the average and last year's slow pace. Planting and emergence of small grains lagged behind the 5-year averages. Spring wheat was 85 percent planted and 65 percent emerged. Barley was 83 percent planted and 63 percent emerged. Oats were 91 percent planted and 83 percent emerged. Sorghum planting also lagged behind normal, as 44 percent was planted by the end of the month. The peanut crop was 90 percent planted, compared with 82 percent last year.

Apr 1 1999 | UNITED STATES: 1999/2000 CROP PROSPECTIVE PLANTINGS
On March 31, the United States National Agricultural Statistics Service released the Prospective Plantings report for 1999/2000. The report indicated that U.S. corn growers intend to plant 78.2 million acres of corn for all purposes in 1999/2000, down 2 percent from both 1998/99 and 1997/98. If these intentions materialize, this would be the lowest planted acreage since 1995/96. Expected corn area is down in the upper Midwest, Southwest, Texas, and Southeast due to a shift to other crops. Intended acreage is up slightly in the central Corn Belt, due in part, to land coming back into production after flooding in 1998. Sorghum plantings are expected to total a record low 8.8 million acres, down 9 percent from 1998/99 and 12 percent below the 1997/98 total. Soybean producers intend to plant 73.1 million acres in 1999/2000, up 1 percent from 1998/99. If realized, this will be the largest planted area for soybeans on record. Of the 30 soybean producing states, producers in 10 states intend to plant more acres this year, while producers in 14 states are indicating fewer acres to be planted in 1999. Six states are unchanged from last year. All wheat planted area is expected to total 63.0 million acres in 1999/2000. This is down 4 percent from 1998/99 and the lowest level in 26 years. Area planted to Durum wheat is intended to increase to 4.3 million acres, up 12 percent from 1998/99. This will be the largest Durum area since 1982. The 1999/2000 other spring wheat planted acreage is placed at 15.4 million acres, down 2 percent from 1998/99. If realized, this will be the smallest area since 1988/89. Of the total, about 14.5 million acres are Hard Red Spring wheat. All cotton plantings for 1999/2000 are expected to total 13.9 million acres, 4 percent above 1998/99. The Delta shows a 9 percent increase, while the Southeast region expects a 7 percent increase from 1998/99. Producers in Texas and Oklahoma intend to plant 2 percent more acreage than in 1998/99. Although California growers intend to plant 50,000 more acres of American-Pima cotton in 1999/2000, the U.S. acreage is down 7 percent, at 305,200 acres.

Apr 1 1999 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
March began with dry, windy conditions in the Great Plains that depleted soil moisture reserves and hindered winter wheat development. The dry weather aided field preparations, and planting was active in southern and eastern Texas and the Gulf Coast States. Some earlier-planted corn and cotton fields emerged along the western Gulf Coast despite soil moisture shortages. Wet and cool weather emerged over the southern and eastern third of the Nation during the second week of the month and prevailed for most of the remainder of the month. The wet weather aided crop emergence, but periodically halted fieldwork in the southern Plains, lower Mississippi Valley, and adjacent areas of the Southeast. The rain also boosted winter wheat development in most areas of the southern Great Plains, but vegetative growth was limited by below-normal temperatures. In Oklahoma and the central Great Plains, mid-month snowfall rejuvenated soil moisture levels and curbed insect activity. In the northern Great Plains, dry conditions continued to persist, but winter wheat was aided by mild temperatures and wind, disease, and insect damage remained light. Warm, dry weather aided tillage and fertilizing activities in the western and central Corn Belt. Fieldwork was less active in the eastern and southern Corn Belt during the first half of the month due to muddy field conditions. In the Great Plains and western Corn Belt, small grain seeding progressed well due to mostly dry conditions. Temperatures averaged below normal in most of the Southeast and fell below freezing as far south as northern Florida early in the month. Frost damage to fruit and vegetable crops was limited due to the short duration of sub-freezing temperatures. Mostly dry weather aided fieldwork in the Atlantic Coastal Plains, while fieldwork was slowed in parts of the Ohio and Tennessee River Valleys and Appalachians by a mixture of heavy rain, freezing rain, and snow. In the eastern Corn Belt and Northeast, most precipitation came as snow. Coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest and northern California remained rainy. In inland areas of California, where dryer conditions prevailed, field preparations and planting were active. Gradual warming promoted growth of small grains, winter forages, and sugar beets. A few cotton fields were planted in the northern valleys, but warmer soil temperatures were needed. In southern areas of the State, small grains were irrigated to sustain growth. By the end of the month, winter wheat was heading and cotton was developing squares in the Imperial and San Joaquin Valleys.

Mar 1 1999 | United States: Crop Condition and Progress
Temperatures averaged above normal across most of the Nation during February. Only areas along the Pacific Coast and adjacent areas of the Rocky Mountains experienced below normal average temperatures. In the Pacific Northwest and points as far south as central California, storms repeatedly pounded coastal areas causing flooding, erosion, and mud slides. Farther inland, at higher elevations of the Cascade and Sierra Ranges, additional snow accumulations increased the risk of avalanches. Interior areas of the Rocky Mountains also received precipitation, but the area from the High Plains eastward into the northern Corn Belt and Great Lakes Region remained dry. Parts of the Corn Belt and adjacent areas of the Great Plains received beneficial precipitation. The southern Plains experienced near-record temperatures early in the month that spurred small grain development, especially in the Texas High Plains. Growers began planting corn in the Coastal Bend to take advantage of available subsoil moisture supplies. As the month progressed, corn and sorghum planting gained momentum until a cold front temporarily deterred planting near mid-month. After warmer weather returned, winter wheat conditions improved in the southern Plains, but a shortage of soil moisture hindered growth, especially in Texas. During the last half of the month, corn, cotton, and sorghum planting progressed in central, southern, and coastal parts of the State with only brief isolated rain delays. Strong winds near the end of the month further depleted moisture supplies in already dry soils, but winter wheat fields remained green due to mild temperatures. As the end of the month approached, more winter wheat fields broke dormancy in the central and southern Great Plains, Mississippi Delta, and southern Corn Belt due to continued mild weather. Some early-planted corn and cotton emerged in Texas, despite dry soils and the brief mid-south cold spell. In California, the rain, wet soils, and below-normal temperatures prevailed in northern areas most of the month. Field activities were frequently delayed, but did not hinder growth of small grains, alfalfa, forage crops, and sugarbeets. Where conditions were drier, producers applied herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers; prepared soils for spring crops; replanted freeze-damaged sugar beet fields; and finished planting wheat. In southern California, citrus growers continued harvest activities. Despite below-normal temperatures, almonds and early peach and nectarine varieties began budding. Cotton planting began in the Imperial Valley near the end of the month. In Florida, warm, dry weather aided sugarcane harvest and field preparations for spring crops; however, winter grains were stressed by moisture shortages. Near mid-month, a frost accompanied by strong winds caused some minor citrus leaf burn and bloom bud damage. Crews rapidly harvested the early- and mid-season orange crop. Vegetable growth was normal and quality was mostly good. Citrus groves need rain to sustain growth and healthy bloom-bud development.

Feb 1 1999 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
The month began with frigid temperatures across most of the eastern half of the United States. Blizzard conditions developed as the cold air pushed through the central Corn Belt and Great Lakes Region. Most wheat fields in the northern Plains and eastern Corn Belt were protected from the sub-zero temperatures and wind chills by snow. Below-normal temperatures extended to the Gulf Coast, with sub-freezing temperature readings in Texas and as far south as central Florida. Peach orchards in the Southeast, in need of additional chill hours, welcomed the cold weather, but tomatoes suffered minor leaf burn in Florida. In lowland citrus groves, some fruit was partially frozen and some new foliage was frost bitten, but damage statewide was minimal. Sugarcane and orange harvest continued unhindered. In Texas, the cold weather temporarily halted growth of small grains. As the month progressed, seasonally mild weather remained entrenched over the Rocky Mountains and extended eastward into the Great Plains, Corn Belt, and Southeast. Despite the beneficial warm weather, growth of small grains was limited in the southern Plains due to excessive dryness. In Florida, warm weather promoted development of citrus bloom buds and open bloom flowers and aided vegetable growth. Dry weather forced citrus growers in sandy and well-drained areas to irrigate groves to maintain tree conditions. During the month, a series of storms formed along the western Gulf Coast and delivered a mixture of rain, sleet, and freezing rain to the lower Mississippi Valley, Southeast, Ohio Valley, and Atlantic Coast States. Icing caused power outages in parts of the Southeast and middle Atlantic Coast States, and tornados ripped through parts of the lower Mississippi Valley. Later, rain and melting snow caused isolated flooding in parts of the middle and northern Atlantic Coast States. Despite the severe weather, most areas welcomed the precipitation as soil moisture levels improved. In the Western United States, temperatures averaged above normal in most areas and well above normal through most of the Rocky Mountains. The snow pack continued to accumulate in the northern Rocky Mountains, but heavy rains and mild temperatures melted snow in the Pacific Northwest. The combination of heavy rain and snow melt caused flooding in low-lying areas along streams. High pressure temporarily forced storms to the north of the Pacific Northwest coastal areas, allowing soils to dry and streams to recede from their banks, but the system weakened and the rainy pattern resumed. Below-normal temperatures persisted in California's valleys, hindering growth of small grains, winter forages, vegetable crops, and emerging sugar beets. Excessive dryness during the first half of the month and excessive dampness during the second half also hindered growth. A brief early-month warm spell allowed citrus growers in the San Joaquin Valley to salvage some fruit from their orchards, but most of the navel orange crop that remained unharvested as the month began was damaged or destroyed. Picking of mature fruit continued in southern California. In vineyards and non-citrus fruit orchards, growers kept busy with pruning, weeding, and fertilizing chores until late- month rains hindered their efforts.

Jan 1 1999 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
Winter wheat development in parts of the central and southern Plains, Corn Belt, Southeast, and lower Mississippi Delta was stimulated early in the month by warm weather. Many record high temperatures were recorded east of the Rocky Mountains. Wheat areas in the northern Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest, and southern High Plains received beneficial precipitation. Dry conditions assisted late-season harvest efforts and fall tillage operations in most of the Corn Belt, Southeast, and middle Atlantic Coastal Plain. Warm, dry weather relieved muddy field conditions and allowed harvest activities to resume in parts of the northern Plains and upper Mississippi Valley. Heavy rains temporarily halted fieldwork in parts of the southern and central Great Plains, from eastern Texas to eastern Kansas, and coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest, from northern California to the Canadian border. As mid-month approached, temperatures fell to more seasonal levels, ending winter wheat growth in the central and northern Great Plains and Corn Belt. Seeding of small grains and winter forages continued in California, but were hampered by wet soils in many areas. Cool, cloudy weather slowed growth of emerging crops in the San Joaquin Valley, while wheat fields in the Sacramento Valley were growing well with additional moisture. Poor drying conditions hampered cotton harvesting in the Central Valley, and the lint quality declined in unharvested fields. Vegetable harvest activity was slowed by frost, but fruit and nut harvest was active. In Texas, small grain growth was slowed in the Plains by freezing temperatures and snow. Cotton growth ended following a hard freeze; and final harvest, temporarily halted by snow, resumed late in the week. Grain sorghum and peanut harvests were nearly complete in the Plains. In South Central Texas, the final peanut harvest was hampered by wet fields. Warm, dry weather continued to delay small grain emergence in the Southeast, where soil moisture was becoming increasingly short. However, the dry weather allowed vegetable planting and harvesting activities to proceed on schedule in Florida. Picking quality and color were good and growth of recently planted vegetable crops was normal. Shortly after mid-month, an arctic airmass brought frigid temperatures to the Northwest and northern Rocky Mountains, and the coldest temperatures of the winter to the Great Plains and the western Corn Belt. Most winter wheat fields in the northern Plains had some snow cover, providing minimal protection from the sudden cold, windy conditions. In the southern Plains, daytime temperatures remained warm enough to promote growth of small grains. Scattered fertilizing and tillage activities continued unhindered by the cold weather in the Great Plains, Corn Belt, Mississippi Delta, and Southeast. In South Dakota, soils were firm enough to allow farmers to harvest most of the remaining corn and sorghum crops. Dry weather also aided harvest efforts in the southern Plains, where a few isolated cotton and sorghum fields remained unharvested. Northern Florida experienced below-freezing readings, but vegetable and fruit crops in central and southern areas of the state were not affected. In California, growers harvested vegetables in the Imperial and Coastal Valleys, pruned orchards in the Sacramento Valley, and planted winter wheat and oats in the San Joaquin Valley. Mild temperatures aided winter wheat development in the Sacramento Valley and vegetable crops were developing well in the San Joaquin Valley. As the end of the month approached, another bitter cold airmass pushed southward out of western Canada into the western and central United States. Several nights of sub-freezing temperatures damaged citrus crops in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, but southern California citrus escaped major damage. The lemon crop was especially hard hit. Freeze damage to California's vegetable crops was not as severe, but the cold weather halted winter vegetable harvest activities. A stormy pattern resumed along the Pacific Northwest coast. Snow, followed by mild and rainy weather, raised streams to their banks in some areas. In Texas, mild temperatures aided winter wheat growth, and most fields provided good forage for grazing. Dry conditions continued to assist harvest efforts as cotton, sorghum, peanuts, and soybeans were virtually complete. Precipitation in the Southeast provided beneficial moisture for winter crops, but freezing rain downed power lines from the central Mississippi Delta to the middle Atlantic States. In Florida, rains eased dryness in the Panhandle, but the remainder of the State remained dry. Vegetable and citrus growers increased irrigation, and harvesting continued until late in the month when many took a break to observe the holiday. Most citrus groves were in good condition, but some were stressed by excessive dryness.

Dec 1 1998 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
A large mass of cold air arrived from Canada early in November and brought the first major snowstorm days later. Harvest activities were halted and wheat fields were blanketed with at least a few inches of snow in the northern Great Plains. A few days later, another storm delivered a mixture of snow and freezing rain in the northern Plains. As the system moved eastward, it produced heavy rains and damaging winds in parts of the Corn Belt and Mississippi Valley. During the second half of the month, temperatures averaged well above normal across most of the Nation, aiding development of winter wheat in the central and southern Great Plains, Mississippi Delta, southern and eastern Corn Belt, and Southeast. Dry conditions also prevailed over much of the Nation during the last half of the month, aiding harvest efforts and fall tillage operations. Harvest activities slowly resumed late in the month in the northern Plains and upper Mississippi Valley following earlier storms. Harvest of the Nation's corn and soybean crops was nearing completion as November began. Progress for both exceeded the average due to early ripening and good harvest weather. Nationally, the corn harvest was more than 1 week ahead of normal, with some areas of the northern Corn Belt more than 2 weeks ahead of average. The soybean harvest pace slowed as the end of the season approached, and was less than 1 week ahead of the 5-year average as the month began. Favorable weather during the month allowed the corn and soybean harvest pace to continue ahead of normal despite isolated delays. The corn harvest briefly fell behind normal in parts of the central Great Plains near mid-month, but warm, dry weather returned and the harvest pace quickly moved back ahead of the 5-year average. Most of the Nation's winter wheat was seeded as November began, but progress was slightly behind normal. Planting was virtually complete in the northern Plains and Rocky Mountains, while growers in the Southeast and Southwest were just starting to gain momentum. By mid-month, most planting in the central and southern Great Plains and eastern Corn Belt was complete. Rain delayed planting efforts in parts of the southern Corn Belt. Dry soils forced growers in the Southeast to delay planting until early-month showers partially relieved topsoil dryness. Emergence also lagged behind normal, partly because of late planting and partly due to dry soils, especially in the Great Plains and Southeast. Emergence improved in the Great Plains and Mississippi Delta after early-month soaking rains. Warm weather during the last half of the month stimulated growth in the central and southern Great Plains, Corn Belt, and lower Mississippi Valley. The cotton harvest began November more than 1 week ahead of normal and remained ahead of the average throughout the month. Mostly dry conditions allowed growers in the lower Mississippi Valley to complete their harvest by mid-month. Dry weather also aided harvest in the Southeast, but harvest progress lagged in California due to the late-maturing crop. Sorghum harvest progressed slightly ahead of normal until mid-November, when rains slowed progress in the Great Plains and southern Corn Belt. Dry conditions aided progress during the second half of the month, except in the northern Plains where progress was halted by early-month winter storms. Harvest resumed late in the month as muddy fields slowly dried. The peanut harvest also progressed ahead of normal, as dry weather prevailed in most peanut producing regions. Florida growers finished harvesting far ahead of the 5-year average.

Nov 1 1998 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
Crops rapidly matured, as temperatures remained seasonable or above-normal east of the Rocky Mountains throughout the month. Harvest momentum accelerated in the Corn Belt, Great Plains, and Southeast, as early-month dry weather aided progress. As the month progressed, most of the Corn Belt and Great Plains received substantial rainfall but the harvest pace remained ahead of the 5-year average. Harvest operations lagged in the Southwest, as crops matured well behind normal especially in California. Dry weather hindered fall seeding operations in the High Plains. Heavy rainfall caused local flooding in the Northeast early in the month and some parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas experienced flooding and erosion late in the month. As the month began, nearly all of the Nation's corn had reached maturity and most of the soybeans were dropping leaves, more than 1 week ahead of normal for both crops. Dry weather provided excellent harvest conditions for the first week of the month. Periodic rains interfered with harvest activities during the month, first in the western Corn Belt then later in the southern, central, and eastern Corn Belt. Harvest activities were able to resume in all areas after the brief rain delays and remained well ahead of normal throughout the month. By the end of the month, the harvest season was winding down, more than 1 week early for corn and nearly 1 week early for soybeans. Cotton development began the month 1 week ahead of normal, with virtually all fields in the Mississippi Delta States in the boll opening stage, much of which was harvested. Most of the crop was mature in the southern Plains and Southeast, but continued to rapidly advance in California. Georges' heavy rains and subsequent flooding damaged cotton fields along the eastern Gulf coast and halted harvest activity. Harvest efforts were interrupted by rain in the northern and extreme southern areas of the Mississippi Delta, as well as parts of the Atlantic Coastal Plains during the first half of the month. Meanwhile, dry conditions in the central Mississippi Delta region and western Oklahoma aided progress. Harvest accelerated during the last half of the month, as rain delays were mostly limited to the southern Plains. As the month ended, two-thirds of the crop was harvested, ahead of the normal pace, but California producers lagged well behind the 5-year average. Less than half of the winter wheat was seeded when the month began and only one-fourth had emerged. Early-month rains in the southern Plains were welcomed in spite of the resulting planting delays, as the moisture was needed to germinate seeds. In the northern Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest, favorable weather allowed planting to move ahead of the 5-year average. Growers in the eastern Corn Belt also made rapid seeding progress, especially in Ohio, where planting progressed well ahead of normal. In the southern Corn Belt and northern Delta region, rain curtailed planting until mid-month, when progress began to gain momentum. Emergence lagged in the central and southern Plains due to the slow planting pace, but rain during the first half of the month boosted emergence in the northern Plains. The rice harvest progressed ahead of normal, except in California, where progress continued to lag behind normal throughout the month. Warm weather early in the month aided sorghum development, allowing the harvest pace to accelerate in the Great Plains and southern Corn Belt. By mid-month, harvest was virtually complete in most areas of the Mississippi Delta States and by the end of the month, growers in the southern Corn Belt and Great Plains were nearly finished also. Peanut harvesting fell behind the normal pace due to heavy rains and flooding from Hurricane Georges and continued to lag throughout the month in Georgia and Alabama. In the southern Plains and along the Atlantic Coastal Plains, harvest progressed ahead of normal.

Oct 1 1998 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
Above-normal temperatures across most of the Nation caused crops to ripen ahead of normal in the Corn Belt, Great Plains, Delta, and Southeast. Most of the Great Plains remained dry, allowing fall tillage operations to continue at a good pace, but dry soils forced some growers to delay winter wheat seeding. Dry weather in the Corn Belt and Delta States aided harvest efforts, while rains from tropical storms frequently halted fieldwork along the Gulf Coast and some inland areas of the Southeast. Above-normal temperatures aided crop development in the Southwest for most of the month, but development continued to lag behind the 5-year average. Temperatures cooled near the end of the month in California, but crops continued to ripen and harvest activity gained momentum. Corn development entered the month a week or more ahead of normal and continued to progress rapidly to maturity due to warm weather. Across the northern Corn Belt, progress was nearly 2 weeks ahead of the normal pace. Four percent of the crop was harvested as the month began and approximately a fourth of the crop was harvested by the end of the month. Nearly all of the Nation's soybean crop had progressed to the pod setting stage and 13 percent was dropping leaves as the month began. Dry weather quickly ripened the crop and allowed the harvest to gain momentum near mid-month. The harvest pace accelerated late-month and, by the end of the month, a third or more of the crop had been combined. Cotton also matured quickly, with bolls opening on half of the crop as the month began and more than one-fourth harvested by the end of the month. Tropical storms hampered harvest efforts and damaged cotton along the Gulf Coast. More than a fourth of the rice crop had been harvested as of September 1 and harvest progressed ahead of average in Texas and the Delta States. In California, harvest began late and progressed behind the 5-year average. Peanut harvest started early in Florida, but slowed after tropical storms hit peanut-producing areas along the Gulf coast. Harvest in the major peanut-producing areas of Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas was hampered by hard, dry soils early in the month and by heavy rains most of the remainder of the month. Dry weather across the northern Great Plains and Pacific Northwest allowed barley and spring wheat harvest to finish at least 2 weeks early in most areas, and nearly 3 weeks early in some parts of Montana and North Dakota. Early month dry weather also allowed winter wheat seeding to advance, with Washington growers seeding over a third of their crop by the end of the first week. However, seeding progress generally lagged throughout the month, as growers waited for rain to replenish soil moisture.

Sep 1 1998 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
Mild temperatures and ample rainfall early in the month promoted rapid corn and soybean development in many parts of the Corn Belt. Varying temperature and precipitation patterns limited insect populations and disease outbreaks. However, uneven growth and yellowing due to nitrogen deficiency, while limited to areas with excessive rainfall, became more evident as the month progressed. Flooding plagued low-lying fields along the lower Ohio River Valley and Missouri Bootheel during the first half of the month. Heat and excessive dryness stressed corn and soybeans in parts of the Great Lakes region for most of the month. Virtually all cotton fields in the southern Great Plains and Southeast had progressed into the boll setting stage by mid-month, with bolls opening more than 1 week ahead of the average pace. Many areas, from the Mississippi Delta through the Southeast, battled rising insect populations, worm infestations, and boll rot. Scattered rains throughout the month relieved drought conditions in many areas of the southern Plains, Mississippi Delta, and Southeast, but the relief came too late for early maturing crops. Later planted cotton, peanut, and sorghum fields benefitted from the rains, but were still under stress from excessive dryness as the month ended. Along the western Gulf Coast, cotton and rice harvest activities were periodically hindered by rain, but, by the end of the month, harvest was nearly complete for both crops. The winter wheat harvest was nearly complete, with only fields in the northern Great Plains and Pacific Northwest remaining unharvested as the month began. Spring wheat and barley harvest accelerated, as scattered early-month rains had little impact on the harvest pace. By mid-month, the spring wheat and barley crops were well over 50 percent harvested, nearly triple the normal pace in Minnesota and North Dakota. The rapid harvest pace continued through the end of the month, with many areas finishing 2 or 3 weeks early. The oat harvest was more than half complete as the month began, continued ahead of normal as the month progressed, and finished well before the end of the month in most areas of the Corn Belt. Above-normal temperatures in California promoted crop development and improved conditions, but cotton and rice development continued to lag well behind normal. As the month ended, cotton bolls were just beginning to open compared to the normal pace of 36 percent.

Aug 1 1998 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
Above-normal precipitation early in the month kept some already saturated fields under standing water in low-lying areas in the eastern and southern Corn Belt. As the month progressed, corn and soybean development remained ahead of normal, as mostly seasonable weather continued to promote rapid growth. Near the end of the month, soaking rains relieved excessive dryness in some areas of the eastern Corn Belt, but also caused additional flooding in the river bottoms of the lower Missouri and Ohio Valleys, while parts of the Great Lakes region remained dry. Cool weather slowed crop development slightly as the month ended, but also reduced crop moisture requirements. Extreme heat in the southern Great Plains, Mississippi Delta, and Southeast stressed crops early in the month. Widespread thunderstorms near mid-month brought heavy rainfall to parts of the lower Mississippi Valley and Southeastern States, replenishing soil moisture, revitalizing crops, and extinguishing many Florida wildfires. Crops in the southern Great Plains, western Gulf Coast, southern Appalachians, and adjoining Piedmont areas continued to be stressed by excessive heat and dry soils through most of the month. Moderate temperatures in the Pacific Northwest provided ideal growing conditions early in the month, while warm, humid weather sped small grain and row crop development in the northern Great Plains. Early-month rains interfered with the winter wheat harvest in the central Great Plains, but improved soil moisture levels that aided row crops. Above-normal temperatures during the last half of the month accelerated small grain ripening in the Pacific Northwest and across the northern Great Plains. Consequently, harvest of wheat and other small grains began 1 to 2 weeks early and progressed ahead of normal through the end of the month. In California, cool weather carried over from June, further delaying crop development as the month began. However, seasonably dry weather allowed field activities to accelerate. Warmer weather during the second half of the month accelerated crop development, but progress remained up to 3 weeks behind normal when the month ended.

Jul 1 1998 | UNITED STATES: CROP PROGRESS AND CROP CONDITION
Frequent thunderstorms provided above normal rainfall to most areas of the Corn Belt, allowing crops to develop well ahead of normal. Locally heavy downpours flooded low-lying fields and eroded hillsides and waterways. As the month ended, many corn fields had uneven stands, with plants in low-lying and poorly drained areas exhibiting stunted growth and discoloration from extended periods of standing in water and soggy soils. Several storm cells produced hail and strong winds that also caused crop damage in isolated areas of the Corn Belt and in the Great Plains. Warm weather ripened the winter wheat well ahead of normal in most of the winter wheat producing States. Dry weather in the central and southern Plains allowed farmers to make rapid progress harvesting, and by the end of the month most of their winter wheat was harvested. In the southern and eastern Corn Belt, the harvest began earlier than normal, and as the month ended, progress was 1 week ahead of the 5-year average. Across the northern Plains and Great Lakes region, above-normal temperatures rapidly ripened the crop which allowed the harvest to begin 2 weeks early in some areas. Hot, dry weather stressed cotton in the Southeast, Mississippi Delta, and southern Plains. Scattered showers and thunderstorms provided temporary relief from the dry conditions in some cotton growing areas, but conditions in most cotton fields deteriorated from the previous month. Peanuts suffered from excessive dryness in the eastern Gulf Coast and southern Plains, but fared better in the mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain. Temperatures remained above normal most of the month in the northern Plains, providing excellent growing conditions for small grains. Dry weather stressed crops in Montana early in the month until rains relieved the drought conditions. The Southwestern States continued to experience below-normal temperatures that slowed crop development, especially in California, where many crops were 1 to 4 weeks behind normal development as the month ended.

Jun 1 1998 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
As the month began, dry weather settled into the western Corn Belt, allowing planting activity to accelerate to a near-record pace. Farmers in the central and northern Great Plains also made rapid progress planting corn and small grains. Frequent rains in the eastern Corn Belt limited planting progress until mid-month. As farmers finished planting corn, they immediately began planting soybeans, which also progressed well ahead of the normal pace in the western Corn Belt. Crop emergence and development were aided by above-normal temperatures and timely showers. The winter wheat crop developed ahead of normal as the month began. In the southern Great Plains, hot weather caused the crop to rapidly mature, but also caused conditions to steadily decline as the month progressed, especially in Texas. From the central Great Plains northward, above-normal temperatures, combined with timely rains, kept development well ahead of normal and conditions remained mostly good. Warm weather also promoted rapid growth in the eastern Corn Belt, but crop conditions declined slightly due to diseases caused by excessive rainfall early in the month. In Montana, excessively dry weather for most of the month caused conditions to decline. Unlike the East, the Southwestern States recorded below-normal temperatures during most of the month, slowing many field operations. In California, farmers struggled to plant cotton and rice during brief dry periods. By month's end, most of the cotton was planted in the Southwest despite the poor planting weather. However, emergence was slow due to cool soils and crusting that occurred after frequent rains. Cotton planting in the Mississippi Delta and Southeastern States was delayed by rains early in the month. Drier weather allowed progress to accelerate near mid-month, with many areas moving ahead of the 5-year average. Nationally, the crop was rated mostly good as the month ended, but hot, dry weather in Texas and cool, wet weather in California were detrimental to conditions in those States.

May 1 1998 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
A rainy weather pattern persisted throughout the month in the eastern half of the United States, limiting fieldwork and delaying planting, especially in the Southeast. Cotton growers barely had time between storms to prepare and plant fields, keeping progress well behind normal as the month ended. The wet weather also delayed the normal beginning of the corn planting season in the Corn Belt. But as the end of the month neared, the western Corn Belt dried and farmers were able to make excellent planting progress. However, the eastern Corn Belt remained wet and planting remained behind normal in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Nationally, by month's end, planting was ahead of normal and on a record pace in Minnesota. Above normal temperatures and dry weather from the Great lakes westward through the northern Plains and Pacific Northwest allowed farmers to make rapid progress in sowing small grains. By the end of the month, most of the Nation's spring wheat, barley, and oats crops were planted. However, dry weather was slowing germination and crop growth, especially in the central and northern High Plains. The mild, early spring temperatures also coaxed winter wheat out of dormancy earlier than normal and provided good growing conditions for most of the month. Around mid-month, a cold front that brought below freezing temperatures as far south as northern Texas did little damage to the crop. But by the end of the month, dry weather was beginning to stress the crop in the High Plains from Texas to the Canada border. In the eastern Corn Belt, wet weather was responsible for the decline in the crop condition. Despite the late-month deterioration, winter wheat was in better condition at month's end than in recent years. Fieldwork and planting were frequently delayed by rain in the Southwest and California. In addition, below normal temperatures persisted for most of the month, keeping soils unfavorably cool until late-month, causing cotton growers to delay planting. A late-month warm up allowed Southwest farmers to make good progress, but planting remained behind the 5-year average as the month ended. In the Southeast, cool, wet weather persisted through the end of the month, causing cotton and peanut planting to fall farther behind. Rice growers had well over half of their crop seeded, despite the rainy weather.

Apr 1 1998 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
Cold weather slowed winter wheat development in the central Great Plains and Southeast early in March. Considerable leaf burn resulted from a mid-month blast of cold air that brought sub-zero temperatures as far south as Kansas. However, permanent damage from the strong winds and freezing temperatures was expected to be minor. Farther north, snow cover helped protect the crop from the windy, cold conditions. As the cold air retreated, growth resumed, accelerating late in March when record high temperatures pushed northward into the High Plains. By the end of the month, over half of the crop had reached the jointing stage in Oklahoma, and the crop was beginning to head in Texas and Louisiana. Warm, dry weather during the last week of March allowed farmers in the Corn Belt and northern Plains to begin spring tillage operations. Some oats were seeded in Illinois, and Colorado producers made good progress on their small grain seedings. In the Southeast, rain caused flooding, delaying corn planting and keeping farmers out of their fields until late in the month. In Georgia, a few cotton and soybean fields remained unharvested from last year's crop. Corn planting accelerated during the final week of the month, but remained behind normal. A sugarcane plant in Florida expected to remain in operation until April to finish processing the late-harvested crop. The Pacific Coast States began March with a continuation of below-normal temperatures, but the earlier stormy pattern abated in California and allowed fieldwork to resume in most areas. Most small grain and alfalfa fields recovered from earlier flooding, but some low-lying wheat and barley fields remained wet and growth was stunted. Some cotton was planted in the San Joaquin Valley, but soil temperatures were still too low in most areas.

Mar 1 1998 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
A wet weather pattern that began last October continued in the Gulf and Atlantic Coast States. Field activities in the Southeast were often halted by rainfall and soils too saturated to support equipment. Some cotton and soybean fields remained unharvested in the Southeast and may be abandoned if wet weather continues. In Florida, frequent rains delayed the sugarcane harvest and other fieldwork. Harvesting of vegetable crops, strawberries, and citrus was active throughout the month when weather conditions permitted. Unseasonably mild temperatures and adequate soil moisture conditions were reported over the major winter wheat-producing States. Snow cover protection was mostly adequate in the northern High Plains, but light or nonexistent elsewhere, leaving much of the crop susceptible to harsh weather. However, only small amount of wind and freeze damage have occurred to the wheat crop so far. By the end of the month, the winter wheat crop had begun to break dormancy in Kansas and the eastern Corn Belt States. Farther south, the crop was jointing in Oklahoma and heading in southern Texas. Mild weather in the Corn Belt permitted some tillage and other field preparation activities in isolated areas, but in most areas the ground had thawed and too muddy to support heavy equipment. Lack of frost left feedlots and pastures muddy as well. Farmers were concerned about the effects of the mild weather on insect populations, weed pressures, and disease problems for the upcoming growing season. In the Northeast, maple producers began tapping trees. Although the warm weather did not adversely affect fruit trees during February, growers were concerned that tender buds could sustain damage later, if the weather suddenly turned colder. Farmers were still assessing damage from the storm, but some damage to alfalfa fields and sugar bushes was noted from the January ice storms. In California, record rainfall in many areas hampered vegetable harvests, curtailed field preparation activities, and postponed tomato planting. Standing water in low-lying areas stressed crops. In the Pacific Northwest, warm weather was bringing fruit trees out of dormancy earlier than normal.

Feb 1 1998 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
January was characterized by unseasonably mild temperatures nationwide with very wet weather along the Pacific, Gulf, and Atlantic Coasts. Field activities in Coastal States were often halted by heavy rainfall or soils that were too saturated to support equipment. In California, rains slowed vegetable harvests and field preparations for the coming year. Several locations in the Southeast and Middle Atlantic States received record amounts of precipitation for the month of January. Some soybean and cotton fields remain unharvested in the Southeast and may have to be abandoned if the wet weather continues. Farther north, weather patterns caused massive ice storms in New England and New York. Severe conditions hampered agricultural activities and stressed livestock, especially dairy herds. Maple and fruit trees were adversely affected by the storms. Growers were still cleaning-up and assessing the extent of the damage at the end of January. The Corn Belt experienced generally snowy weather in northern areas and rain in the south during January. However, mild temperatures melted most of the snow, causing muddy fields and leaving winter-planted crops uncovered. Winter wheat fields showed signs of greening and breaking dormancy later in the month. Farmers are concerned about the effects that the mild weather would have on insects and disease during the upcoming growing season. Unseasonably mild temperatures prevailed over the major of the winter wheat-producing States. Rains provided adequate soil moisture in the southern Plains, but January was generally dry in the central and northern High Plains. Some snow accumulated on winter wheat fields in Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota, but the majority of the fields had little or no snow cover. In the Northwest, the crop was in generally good condition due to mild, wet weather. In the Southeast, saturated soils have caused flooding in fields, delayed chemical applications, and drained nutrients from the soil. Farmers nationwide are concerned because the lack of snow cover and mild temperatures had left the winter wheat crop vulnerable to freezing temperatures. Little damage has occurred to the wheat crop thus far.

Jan 1 1998 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
A split jet stream, induced by El Nino, allowed farmers to finish fall crop harvest and tillage operations under mostly dry conditions across the northern United States. However, the weather pattern caused continued wetness during December across the Southern States and delayed harvest and fall planting activities. At the end of the month, soil moisture supplies in the major corn and soybean-producing States were mostly adequate. There was concern about the lack of snow cover on winter grains and alfalfa fields. Grain movement in the Corn Belt was slowed by low prices. Some elevators in Nebraska continued to pile grain outside in emergency storage. Above-normal temperatures in the northern Plains benefitted livestock producers after the especially harsh winter last year. Farmers in the northern and Middle Atlantic States were able to finish fall harvest, but hay supplies were short in several areas. Continued rainfall and below-normal temperatures from California to Florida delayed fall crop harvest, and a few fields remained unharvested at month's end. However, the majority of the soybean, cotton, and sorghum areas were harvested by the end of December. Snow in southeast Colorado further hindered sorghum harvest that was initially delayed by a late October blizzard. A small amount of Kansas sorghum acreage was not yet harvested at the end of December due to above-normal precipitation. Tobacco curing in Kentucky and Ohio was hampered by slow drying conditions later in the month. Record wetness in Florida hampered citrus and vegetable harvests. The very mild weather across the northern United States promoted growth and development of the 1998 winter wheat crop but also melted snow cover on emerged fields. In Kansas, the crop was rated in mostly good to excellent condition at the end of December with little wind and freeze damage occurring during the month. Statewide, snowfall and rain combined with moderate temperatures resulted in on again/off again snow cover. To the north of Kansas, dry weather during the last 3 months in the High Plains has left fields with no snow cover and subject to damage by wind and freezing temperatures. In the Northwest, snow cover was absent in eastern Washington, while good snow cover in northern Idaho and mild conditions in the southern part of the State benefitted winter wheat. Mild temperatures accompanied by snow and rain benefitted fields in the southern Plains. In the Southeast, planting and crop growth were delayed by late fall crop harvests and above-normal precipitation.

Dec 1 1997 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
Cool, wet weather hampered fall harvest efforts during November. Both corn and soybean harvests slowed as precipitation in the Great Lakes region kept grain moisture levels high and seven weeks of continued wet weather in the Southeast kept farmers out of soybean fields. In the western Corn Belt, harvest finished under mostly favorable conditions after an early-month snowstorm. Grain storage shortages delayed corn harvest in some areas. Storms, bringing snow to New England and rain to the Mid-Atlantic States, hindered harvest operations. Cotton harvest was delayed in the Southeast by seven weeks of wet weather. Mid-month wet weather problems caused numerous harvest delays in Texas. Farmers in several major cotton-producing States harvested their crops between storms, but the quality of late fields suffered from the moisture. California cotton harvest was mostly complete early in November before rains caused wet conditions for the last three weeks of November. Peanut harvest was virtually complete by mid-November despite continued rainfall across the Southeast. Early in November, central Plains' farmers made limited progress harvesting their sorghum crop due to melting snow and drifts from a major late-October snowstorm. Farmers made some progress as fields dried or froze, except in Colorado where a second snowstorm blanketed the State and delayed harvest even more. Wet conditions and lack of storage space hindered harvest later in the month. Mid-month snow in Minnesota and North Dakota halted most fieldwork for the winter. November began with wet soils preventing planting of some winter wheat fields in the central Plains. However, most fields were planted by mid-month. Planting activity increased in California and the Southeast as farmers seeded winter wheat following fall crop harvest and when the weather allowed. Dry, cool weather during the middle of November restricted wheat growth in the central and southern Plains until widespread moisture fell in the area at month's end. The late-month precipitation also benefitted newly emerged fields in the Northwest, Corn Belt, and Southeast. In the northern Plains, farmers were concerned about the lack of snow cover going into winter. The winter wheat crop was rated in mostly good condition as of November 30, 1997.

Nov 1 1997 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
Very warm, dry weather in the eastern United States provided excellent harvest conditions the first half of October. In the Corn Belt, soybean growers harvested their crop at a near-record pace. As soybean harvest finished, farmers immediately switched to harvesting the Nation's corn acreage. At mid-month, a killing frost and an early-season snowstorm provided the necessary conditions for drying the corn crop. Heavy snow slowed harvest for several days in the western Corn Belt. After moisture levels dropped, harvest activity surged ahead of the normal pace. Soybean harvest was slowed by late-month showers in the Southeast. Some grain storage shortages were encountered as grain bins filled rapidly and some elevators were forced to use temporary storage facilities. Cotton harvest progressed ahead of normal in the western cotton-producing States, but behind normal in eastern States. Unseasonably hot weather in the Southwest helped cotton fields to dry out after Tropical Storm Nora. Much-needed heat helped the Texas crop progress early in the month. However, heavy rains and flooding caused lint loss and damage to quality at mid-month. Farmers in the Southeast harvested cotton, rice and peanuts between rains. Rice harvest neared completion at mid-month and peanut harvest was in the later stages by the end of October. Favorable weather during early October allowed sorghum growers to harvest ahead of the normal pace in the Plains and Corn Belt. However, the early-season snowstorm on October 24-25 halted activity in Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas. Harvest of fall-season crops proceeded under favorable conditions in the northern Plains most of the month, but above-normal precipitation hampered fieldwork in the Northwest. Early-month moisture fell along the middle and northern Atlantic Coast, but came too late to help most crops. Late-month showers hampered harvest efforts in these States. Early in the month, very warm, dry weather allowed planting of the 1998 winter wheat crop to progress rapidly in many States, especially Kansas, Oklahoma, and Oregon. Planting also progressed rapidly in the Corn Belt as farmers immediately followed a rapid fall harvest with winter wheat seeding. Later on, a major early-season storm system brought blizzard conditions to the central Plains and western Corn Belt, as well as rain to the southeastern United States. Although planting was delayed by the storm, newly emerged fields benefitted from the precipitation. Rainfall early and late in the month benefitted seeded acreage in the Pacific Northwest.

Oct 1 1997 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
Above-normal temperatures in the central and western United States provided favorable weather for crop, maturation in September. Warm, sunny weather in the western Corn Belt pushed corn and soybeans to maturity, especially later in the month. Although below-normal temperatures kept progress behind normal in the eastern Corn Belt, dry weather allowed crops to mature. Late-month frost caused little or no damage in the upper Midwest, Great Lakes, and Northeastern States. Mid-month showers in the Corn belt and late-month rains in the Southeast may have benefitted late-planted soybeans. Harvest was underway later in the month, but progressed behind the normal pace. End-of- month precipitation slowed harvest in the southern Plains and Southeast Cotton progress was ahead of normal in the western cotton-producing States, but behind normal farther east. In the Southeast, dry soils continued to stress fields until late-month storms brought relief. At the end of the month, Tropical Storm Nora caused some damage to fields in western Arizona, but overall damage was less than expected. The storm slowed defoliation activity in southern California, but harvest activities continued farther north. Hot, dry weather stressed the peanut acreage for most of September until rains at the end of the month improved soil moisture supplies. Rice harvest progressed well ahead of average in California, but behind the normal pace elsewhere. Sorghum harvest gained momentum under clear, sunny skies until late-month rains fell and slowed activity in most of the major sorghum producing States. Very warm, and dry weather allowed spring small grain harvest to finish ahead of the average pace, especially in Minnesota, Montana, and North Dakota. Planting of the 1998 winter wheat crop started slowly, then gained momentum toward the end of the month. Early on, Washington growers were delayed by showers and a later-than-normal harvest, but seeding progressed rapidly under clear skies the second half of the month. Grasshoppers delayed planting in Montana and Nebraska as farmers took preventive measures to control the insects. Mid-month hot, dry weather in the central and southern Plains allowed farmers to make good planting progress. Late-month rainfall slowed planting in the central and southern Plains, but replenished dry soils.

Sep 1 1997 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
As August began, crop conditions declined in the Corn Belt, with scattered showers providing limited or no relief from persistent dryness in an area extending from Missouri northeastward to New York. However, below-normal temperatures in the area moderated the stress somewhat and reduced evaporation rates. As the month progressed, widespread rains brought relief to dry fields. Although continued below-normal temperatures slowed crop development, corn and soybean progress remained ahead of normal in the western Corn Belt. Progress in the eastern Corn Belt slowed to near-normal levels. Above-normal temperatures in the Corn Belt and Plains the last week of August prompted rapid crop development. Despite starting the month moist, soils in the Southeast and Texas turned dry. Condition of cotton, soybeans, peanuts, and other late-planted crops declined due to a lack of moisture. Cotton progress was behind normal in the Southeast, but ahead of normal in the western cotton-producing States. Likewise, rice fields in California progressed 2 weeks ahead of normal, while fields in the Southeast developed and were harvested behind the average pace. Peanut harvest was just underway late in the month. The winter wheat harvest started late in the Northwest because of cool, wet weather earlier in the spring. Once harvesting started in Washington, it progressed rapidly under clear skies. The harvest in Idaho, Montana, and Oregon was hampered by showers and progressed behind the normal pace. Planting of the 1998 winter wheat crop was just underway at month's end. The spring wheat and barley harvest started slowly at the beginning of the month, but very warm, dry weather over the northern Plains allowed progress to surpass the average by the end of August. Oat harvesting progressed ahead of the normal pace for all of August. Monsoonal moisture in the Rocky Mountains and central Plains provided adequate moisture for sorghum fields. Fields developed ahead of normal in most major sorghum-producing States, especially Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri. Mid-month rainfall provided some relief from drought-like conditions in the mid-Atlantic States, but may have come too late to save some crops.

Aug 1 1997 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
Drier, warmer weather in July allowed farmers across the United States to cultivate fields and apply fertilizer and pesticides. Sunshine and warmth early in the month promoted rapid crop growth throughout the Corn Belt. Progress of corn and soybeans took a drastic jump in the middle of July that corresponded to the jump in planting progress earlier in the spring. By the end of the month, both corn silking and soybean setting pods were ahead of last year and the average. Lack of moisture began to stress the crops as the month progressed, but temperatures turned cooler at month's end to moderate the stress slightly. Crop conditions remained good in areas that received scattered showers. After a slow start in June, winter wheat harvesting progressed rapidly in July due to generally warm, dry weather in the major winter wheat-producing states. The harvest in the southern Plains and Southeast finished by mid-month, slightly ahead of average. In the northern Plains and Northwest, the harvest progressed behind the normal pace until the end of the month, when dry, sunny weather allowed farmers into ripe fields. Timely showers along the northern tier of States provided enough moisture for spring small grain development to catch up after late planting. Spring wheat and barley completed heading ahead of last year and the average. Late-month cool, wet weather in the North Dakota promoted the development of head and foliar diseases. Oats were harvested at the average national pace. Spring wheat and barley harvest was just underway by month's end. Torrential rains along the path of Hurricane Danny's remnants may have caused damage to some fields in the Southeast, but most crops benefitted from the much-needed moisture. Cotton fields developed ahead of normal in the western cotton-producing states, but Southeastern fields progressed behind normal. Progress was well ahead of normal in California and Arizona as seasonable temperatures provided good growing conditions. Toward the end of the month, the cotton acreage in Mississippi and Texas showed signs of moisture stress. Cotton, peanut, and rice fields benefitted from showers along the Gulf and southern Atlantic Coasts at the end of the month. Peanut and rice fields developed behind the normal pace. The Nation's sorghum crop progressed near normal for most of the month. Areas in the central Plains and Corn Belt showed signs of moisture stress toward the end of the month. Persistent dryness stressed both crops and pastures throughout the middle Atlantic Coast and eastern Ohio Valley

Jul 1 1997 | UNITED STATES: CROP PROGRESS AND CROP CONDITIONS
Mid-month (June) above-normal temperatures brought an end to the 10-week cool spell that slowed crop development and hindered planting activities in the Eastern United States. Flooding and ponding in the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys delayed planting and caused farmers to re-plant low- lying fields. Soybean planting progressed ahead of normal in most other areas. Widespread rain and high heat units after mid-month helped corn and soybeans to develop rapidly throughout the Corn Belt. Weed control was a concern as rains limited spraying, and cool, wet soils prevented cultivating early in the month. Average height of the corn acreage varied widely between early- and late-planted fields. Winter wheat harvest was hampered by damp weather and progressed behind normal for most of June. The harvest started slowly in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas as frequent rains kept combines out of fields. Drier weather late in the month favored harvesting. The persistent cool, wet weather was an ongoing concern for farmers in the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys. Dry soils in the northern Plains stressed both winter wheat and newly emerged spring grains. North Dakota soils were the driest in early June since 1988. Despite late plantings, spring grains emerged ahead of the normal pace until lack of moisture slowed development. However, rain during the last half of June, eased stress across the region. Above- average precipitation combined with mountain snowpack runoff flooded low-lying fields in Idaho and Montana, but provided favorable conditions for small grain development. Growing conditions in the Southwest were ideal as a 7-week hot spell ended at mid-month. Cotton developed well ahead of average in Arizona and California. In Texas and the Southeast, cotton planting and development were slowed by unseasonably cool, wet weather. Rice development and peanut planting were also hampered by the cool, wet weather. Sorghum planting finished just ahead of the normal pace across the United States.

Jun 1 1997 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITIONS AND PROGRESS
Unseasonably cool weather east of the Rocky Mountains slowed crop emergence and development the entire month of May. Localities as far south as Kentucky recorded freezing temperatures well beyond their normal "last freeze date." Despite the cool weather, corn planting progressed well ahead of normal throughout the Corn belt. As corn planting finished, farmers immediately switched to planting soybeans, which also progressed well ahead of the normal pace. However, below-normal temperatures hindered crop emergence and development, requiring limited replanting. Overall, corn condition as of June 1, 1997, was mostly good. Continuous cool, wet weather hindered planting operations along the Gulf Coast and in the lower Mississippi and Ohio Valleys. Late-month rains eased a 3- week dry spell along the southern and middle Atlantic Coast. Southeastern cotton and peanut growers made good planting progress during the middle of the month. End-of-month rains improved crop conditions, but hindered planting progress. Dry soils in the central and northern High Plains stressed the winter wheat crop for most of the month, causing conditions to decline. Favorable rains fell in the area the last half of May, alleviating drought-like conditions. Planting of spring wheat, barley, and oats was delayed until mid-month by cool weather and saturated soils in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. Drier soils allowed small grain farmers to plant at a rapid pace during the latter part of May. Unlike the East, States west of the Rocky Mountains recorded above-normal temperatures during May. In the Northwest, winter wheat condition improved with late-month rains. Spring wheat, barley, and oat growers made good planting progress during the month. Six consecutive weeks of hot weather in the Southwest provided good crop planting and development conditions, but exacerbated long-term drought.

Jun 1 1997 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITIONS AND PROGRESS
General Crop Comments: April started with unseasonably cold, wet weather in most of the United States and gradually warmed and dried as the month progressed. Early-month rain and snow compounded flooding problems that already existed in the Red River Valley because of record snowfall in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. Saturated soils delayed the start of spring wheat, barley, and oat planting and kept farmers out of fields until the end of the month. Small grain planting in the Northwest also progressed behind the 5-year average as cool, damp weather prevailed. However, conditions were ideal in the eastern Great Lakes and farmers planted oats at a faster-than-normal pace. Cool soils and wet weather prevented farmers in the Mississippi, Tennessee, and Ohio Valleys from planting spring crops. Even though soils were still cool, planting accelerated later in the month as the soils dried in the Corn Belt. Corn planting was progressing at or near a record pace in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio by the last week in April. Soils in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and North Carolina remained cool and wet, slowing planting the entire month. Heavy rains in the Gulf Coast States caused localized flooding and limited fieldwork. Cotton, peanut, and rice planting lagged further behind average as the month continued. Reminiscent of 1995, below-freezing temperatures during April 11-13 damaged the winter wheat crop in the southern Plains. Farmers and agronomists were in fields evaluating the effects of the freeze, but the full extent of the damage was difficult to determine. Condition of the Kansas wheat crop dropped significantly after the freeze, but improved later as damage was found to be limited to the southern part of the State. Oklahoma and Texas farmers found more damage in their further-advanced crop. The condition of the crop in both States declined significantly after the freeze. An area extending from Florida northward to North Carolina, started out dry, then turned wet. Winter wheat developed rapidly and planting of spring crops progressed ahead of the normal pace. At mid-month, farmers stopped planting spring crops because soils were too dry. The winter wheat condition in Georgia declined as the crop became stressed. Beneficial moisture finally fell at the end of the month. Cotton planting progressed well in California and Arizona as these were the only States to record above-normal temperatures for April.

May 1 1997 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITIONS AND PROGRESS
General Crop Comments: April started with unseasonably cold, wet weather in most of the United States and gradually warmed and dried as the month progressed. Early-month rain and snow compounded flooding problems that already existed in the Red River Valley because of record snowfall in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. Saturated soils delayed the start of spring wheat, barley, and oat planting and kept farmers out of fields until the end of the month. Small grain planting in the Northwest also progressed behind the 5-year average as cool, damp weather prevailed. However, conditions were ideal in the eastern Great Lakes and farmers planted oats at a faster-than-normal pace. Cool soils and wet weather prevented farmers in the Mississippi, Tennessee, and Ohio Valleys from planting spring crops. Even though soils were still cool, planting accelerated later in the month as the soils dried in the Corn Belt. Corn planting was progressing at or near a record pace in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio by the last week in April. Soils in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and North Carolina remained cool and wet, slowing planting the entire month. Heavy rains in the Gulf Coast States caused localized flooding and limited fieldwork. Cotton, peanut, and rice planting lagged further behind average as the month continued. Reminiscent of 1995, below-freezing temperatures during April 11-13 damaged the winter wheat crop in the southern Plains. Farmers and agronomists were in fields evaluating the effects of the freeze, but the full extent of the damage was difficult to determine. Condition of the Kansas wheat crop dropped significantly after the freeze, but improved later as damage was found to be limited to the southern part of the State. Oklahoma and Texas farmers found more damage in their further-advanced crop. The condition of the crop in both States declined significantly after the freeze. An area extending from Florida northward to North Carolina, started out dry, then turned wet. Winter wheat developed rapidly and planting of spring crops progressed ahead of the normal pace. At mid-month, farmers stopped planting spring crops because soils were too dry. The winter wheat condition in Georgia declined as the crop became stressed. Beneficial moisture finally fell at the end of the month. Cotton planting progressed well in California and Arizona as these were the only States to record above-normal temperatures for April.

Apr 1 1997 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITIONS AND PROGRESS
In March, farm chores changed from winter to spring activities. Spring fieldwork was active across the southern half of the country. Spring planting was active in the Southwest and the Gulf States. Winter wheat was greening and in good-to-excellent condition. Some areas of the central and southern Great Plains were dry. In California, field activities were progressing normally under weather conditions that were ideal for fieldwork. In the eastern Corn Belt through the Northeast, spring activities were delayed due to rainy weather and wet fields. In the Dakotas and Minnesota, the snowpack was moderately receding. The temperatures were steady enough to prevent major flooding. Spring fieldwork started on schedule in the southern one-third of the country. In Arizona, above-normal temperatures and virtually no precipitation provided plenty of days suitable for cotton planting and small grain development. By the end of the month, approximately one-fourth of the cotton had been planted, equal to last year's progress, and ahead of the 5-year average. In Alabama, corn planting was one-third complete, ahead of the 1996 progress and the average. In Arkansas, fields were too wet for most field activities. Some planting was underway in the southeast portion of the State. Georgia producers were ahead of normal with land preparation and crop progress. In the southern Great Plains, winter wheat was breaking dormancy and in mostly good to excellent condition. Little rain fell over the southern Plains in March and additional moisture would have been beneficial. The crop came through the winter with very little freeze or wind damage. In Oklahoma, over two-thirds of the winter wheat crop was jointing, up from last year and the average. Colorado winter wheat experienced a rather dry winter and, by month's end, needed more moisture to maintain favorable crop prospects. On the West Coast, spring fieldwork was progressing normally in most areas. California weather conditions were ideal for growth. By mid-month, cotton planting began in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys. In the desert area, cotton planting was complete by month's end. Alfalfa and winter forage were being cut for hay or greenchop.

Dec 1 1996 | UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITIONS
Harvesting of the major row crops started November slightly behind schedule. In the Corn Belt, rain and snow slowed harvest activity, while in the eastern Corn Belt, high moisture levels in some late-maturing grain fields limited harvest progress. Snow and freezing rain in the western Corn Belt brought the row-crop harvest to a halt. Elevators in the central Great Plains were filled to capacity with grain due to a large production of corn and soybeans. Early in the month, wheat diseases were reported in the central Great Plains, but damage was minimal. The lateness in the row-crop harvest caused delays to wheat seeding in the Ohio Valley, leaving some acres unplanted. Heavy rain in the Eastern States were followed by freezing temperatures that limited fieldwork. Excessive rainfall delayed harvest activity and flooded some unharvested fields in the middle Mississippi Valley. In the Southeast, severe thunderstorms, some accompanied by tornadoes, and chilly weather stopped fieldwork. Freezing temperatures in early-November in the southern Great Plains were welcomed by cotton producers who waited for a hard freeze to aid defoliation. Wet weather at mid-month across the central Great Plains slowed row-crop harvest activity and prevented producers from completing small grain seeding. In the Dakotas, blizzard conditions brought harvest activity to a standstill and left some row crops unharvested until spring. Wheat producers in the Dakotas were concerned that short wheat stands were susceptible to blow-out during the winter. Producers struggled with muddy fields in the Ohio Valley as they attempted to finish combining row crops. Farmers hurried to chisel their fields in the Great Lakes region before a deep frost occurred. Farther south in the Delta, surplus soil moisture caused harvest activity to fall behind schedule. Later in the month, cold, wet weather limited harvest activity and small grain seeding in the Midwest and slowed the dry down of row crops still in the field. Producers left some row crops unharvested until spring due to deep snow in the Dakotas. In the central Great Plains, persistent wet conditions required producers to wait for fields to freeze to support combines. Wet weather in the southern Great Plains and western Delta flooded fields and delayed the row-crop harvest. Heavy rains along the Pacific Coast caused flooding and halted all field activity. Low temperatures and dry conditions slowed wheat emergence on some replanted fields in the Mountain States. Cotton producers in the southern Great Plains waited for freezing temperatures to aid in defoliation, while producers in the Tennessee Valley commented that the cotton harvest would not be completed by year's end. Harvest activity was delayed by rains over the Southeast, but the moisture improved small grain and pasture conditions. Persistent cool, wet weather at the end of November slowed harvest activity and small grain seeding across the Eastern States. Snowfall brought much-needed moisture across the southern and central Great Plains for recently planted small grains. Producers in the Northern States were concerned about the early-winter weather and snow accumulation and the lateness of small grain seedings. Deep snow in the Dakotas restricted grazing and forced producers to begin using feed supplies earlier than normal. Excessive rainfall in the Delta caused harvest activity to fall behind schedule. Showers over the mid-Atlantic restricted harvests but improved small grain and pasture conditions. Heavy rains along the Pacific Coast caused some flooding and slowed fieldwork and prevented some growers from planting field crops. Winter wheat emergence finished ahead of normal and ended the month in mostly good-to-fair condition. At month's end, late-planted wheat in the Great Lakes region and eastern Corn Belt remained susceptible to damage from heaving. Corn harvest progress started November behind the average but was virtually complete at month's end, slightly ahead of schedule. Cotton harvest progress started the month 1 percentage point behind the average, and wet weather during the month prevented progress from exceeding the average.


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