Sunshine paying dividends for farmers

Less rain last week enabled farmers to get back into the fields, while the sunshine is helping crops improve as well.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the state averaged just .57 inches of rainfall last week, .4 below normal. This offered farmers 5.2 days of days suitable for fieldwork, a major jump from recent weeks. Not surprisingly, the second cutting of alfalfa hay is now 73% complete, up from just 52% during the previous week.

The steady drop in crop quality is slowly beginning to reverse. Fifty-seven percent of corn and 49 percent of soybeans are now rated as good to excellent, just a tick above their ratings during the prior week. Eighty-nine percent of corn plants have reached the silking stage, with 32 percent now at the dough stage. Soybeans are progressing as well, with 72 percent blooming and 32 percent setting pods.

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