In my area, south-central to southeastern Michigan, corn and soybeans got off to one of their better starts in recent years. Farmers got a good jump on planting and were able to get most of their corn and soybeans planted, sprayed, and fertilized in between the scattered rains. There were a few areas that were planted late, or were even prevented from being planted, but not excessively so.
Then the third wettest June on record came to southern Michigan. The average June rainfall is around 3.5 inches. As of June 30, most areas have received at least double that, with some receiving over 12 inches. Portions of northern Kalamazoo, Calhoun, and Jackson Counties were deluged with 4 to 6 inches in a 24 hour period June 22-23. Entire fields were under water in places and some roads and ditches were washed out.
Here at June 30, there is a lot of varying condition in the corn and soybean fields. In general, much of the region’s crops have uneven growth, numerous yellow-to-light-green plants, and low spots with dead or dying plants where water stood. The overall yield potential has been hurt, but there is still plenty of time for some recovery, as long as the weather cooperates from this point forward.
The wheat crop has looked good this year and is beginning to dry down on its way to harvest in several weeks. As happens in wet years, there is concern about the wheat’s quality due to mold and scab which can cause mycotoxins that hurt its quality and cause price deductions. It’s too early to tell, but there is likely to be some issues.
Weather-related problems are not unique to southern Michigan, as most of the eastern Midwest has also been wet. Throughout the first part of 2015, USDA and industry reports have led the grain markets to expect a strong supply, causing low and languishing prices. The markets responded sharply to the USDA June 30 reports, possibly showing concerns for reduced yields and setting the tone for higher prices. There is still a lot of time until harvest, so we shall see if the old adage “rain makes grain” holds true, or if there was “too much of a good thing”.