Severe to exceptional drought has spanned across 80 percent of the state with only some northwestern and southeastern areas in slightly better condition, according to the Indiana Field Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Farmers in 55 counties now qualify for assistance after their Farm Service Agency (FSA) declared 36 counties as natural disaster areas and extended assistance to an additional 19 counties. The additional 19 counties are contiguous to the 36 designated counties. The FSA will also allow livestock producers in 22 counties to graze CRP land after obtaining approval. High populations of spider mites required several soybean and some corn fields to be sprayed. Mint harvest is underway in northern counties with poor yields being reported. Third cuttings of alfalfa will not be possible in some areas due to the drought. Some operations have begun selling cattle because of the lack of forage. Corn silage is being chopped to help relieve short forage supplies.
Seventy-nine percent of the corn acreage has silked compared with 23 percent last year and 39 percent for the 5-year average. Seven percent of the corn is in dough compared to 0 percent last year and 1 percent for the 5-year average. Corn condition continued to decline and is now rated 8 percent good to excellent compared with 53 percent last year at this time.
Sixty-four percent of the soybean acreage is blooming compared with 26 percent last year and 36 percent for the 5-year average. Twelve percent of the soybean acreage is setting pods compared with 0 last year and 5 percent for the 5-year average. Soybean condition also fell further and is now rated 11 percent good to excellent compared with 53 percent last year at this time.
Winter wheat harvest is virtually complete at this point with yields being better than expected in many fields.
Livestock were under heat stress most of the week. Pasture condition declined further and is now rated 1 percent good to excellent compared with 55 percent last year at this time.