Crop Insurance Today - 10

Figure 5 U.S. Drought Monitor, August 27, 2015/September 1, 2016

more than 50 percent of the crop with "good" to
"excellent" condition ratings. But wet conditions
in the later months created stress for some areas
damaged by Hurricane Matthew. However, relative to cotton crops of the past four years, the
2016 crop was overall consistently better from
July to September. Most of the spring wheat crop
was ranked "good" to "excellent" throughout the
growing season. Early season conditions were
some of the best seen since 2010, while late season rankings in the high 60 percent range were
consistent with the 10-year average.
Fall 2016. Once again, the United States experienced a record warm fall season. The near
record El Niño continued to influence the weather as a weak La Niña developed. The 2016 temperatures exceeded those of 2015, which were the
warmest on record for the fall dating back to 1963.
The fall was one of extreme contrast in terms
of precipitation (Figure 7). Drought conditions
worsened in much of the Southeast. Continued
hot and dry conditions resulted in late November wildfires with the worst being in the Smoky
Mountains. Meanwhile Hurricane Matthew and
tropical rainfall plagued the Atlantic region and
resulted in record flooding in North Carolina.
Harvest was completed in the Midwest with
intermittent rain delays. The Northeast received
moderate precipitation providing some relief
from the region's severe drought conditions. In the
Pacific Northwest and northern California, rains
in October provided much-needed moisture to
the area. Unfortunately, Southern California continued to struggle with a five-year drought, with
10

MAY2017

little relief from occasional fall rains.
The fall harvest progressed nicely with 98
percent of the spring wheat out of the fields by
September 18. By October 2, farmers had harvested 26 percent of the soybean crop and 24
percent of the corn crop. By the end of October,
75 percent of the corn crop had been harvested
and 87 percent of the soybean crop. By the end of
November, the harvest was winding down as the
December winter weather approached. Overall
97 percent of the nation's soybean crop had been
harvested by November 13; 97 percent of the
corn crop by November 20; and 77 percent of the

cotton crop by November 27.
The fall was also marked by the beginning of
the next production season with the seeding of
the 2017 winter wheat crop, which was 43 percent planted by October 2, two percent behind
the five-year average. The winter wheat planting
advanced in the warm October temperatures
with 86 percent of the crop in the ground by
October 30, slightly behind 2015 and two percent behind the five-year average. At the same
time, 57 percent of the crop was reported to be
in "good" to "excellent" condition. By November
20, 97 percent of the 2017 winter wheat crop had

Figure 6 U.S. Crop Conditions, 2016: Share of Crop Rated
Good or Excellent


http://droughtmonitor.uni.edu/ http://droughtmonitor.uni.edu/ https://quickstats.nass.usda.gov/results/8EEE7E03-D659-30B7-AD35-7BABA195567A

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