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Where is the worst corn in the country this growing season?

Texas, Kansas, and North Carolina corn farmers have been challenged by drought and more. Between the three states, 313 counties have USDA disaster designations. Corn condition in the respective states is rated as the worst in the U.S. at this point in the 2022 growing season.

Texas Crop Conditions

Monday’s USDA Crop Progress Report indicated 49% of Texas corn is in very poor/poor condition. Just 17% of the state’s corn is in good/excellent shape.

Corn harvest in the Lone Star State is 44% complete, up from 29% the week prior. The five-year average for this time of year is 43%.

The state’s soybean crop is also approaching maturity with 47% dropping leaves. That’s up from 38% the week prior, and well ahead of the five-year average of 35%.

Soybeans in Texas were rated 6% very poor, 38% poor, 39% fair, 15% good, and 2% excellent in Monday’s report.

Supplemental feeding continues for livestock across the state. Producers are still liquidating their cattle due to the lack of quality pastureland and dry conditions. USDA said Monday, “Despite much needed rain arriving last week, range and pasture conditions are rated 84% very poor to poor.

Topsoil moisture across Texas was rated 54% very short, 17% short, 25% adequate, and 4% surplus on Monday. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 55% very short, 21% short, 22% adequate, and 2% surplus.

Map of Texas drought conditions
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor updated August 18 shows more than 26% of the state suffering from D4 exceptional drought. D3 extreme drought dominates over 35% of the Texas map. D2 severe drought covers more than 23% of the state. Over 8% of Texas is in moderate drought, while more than 4% of the state is abnormally dry. Less than 3% of the state is free of moisture stress.

Intense drought has made the state prone to wildfire. Since January 1, Texas A&M Forest Service and local fire departments have responded to 8,600 wildfires for 643,840 acres across the state.

Of Texas’ 254 counties, 228 have USDA disaster designations. So far, 2022 is the second driest year on record for the state.

A graph showing a colorful breakdown of corn condition across Texas, Kansas, and North Carolina
Data credit: USDA

Kansas Crop Conditions

In Kansas, 44% of the corn is in very poor/poor condition. USDA said Monday 26% of the state’s crop is in good/excellent condition.

Corn harvest is also underway in Kansas with progress pegged at 4%.

The state’s soybean crop is behind this year. Just 67% of Kansas soybeans are setting pods, significantly trailing the five-year average of 76%.

Soybean condition was rated 14% very poor, 21% poor, 34% fair, 28% good, and 3% excellent in Monday’s report.

Kansas pasture and range conditions were rated 37% very poor, 25% poor, 26% fair, 12% good, and 0% excellent.

Topsoil moisture supplies rated 42% very short, 35% short, 22% adequate, and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies in Kansas rated 43% very short, 36% short, 21% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Map of Kansas drought conditions
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

The August 18 U.S. Drought Monitor shows the area of D4 exceptional drought grew to cover close to 11% of Kansas. More than 21% of the state reported D3 extreme drought conditions. Nearly 26% of the state is covered in D2 severe drought. Almost 15% of Kansas is suffering from D1 moderate drought and another 14% is abnormally dry. About 13% of the state, in the northeast corner, is free of moisture stress.

Of Kansas’ 105 counties, 68 have USDA disaster designations.

North Carolina

North Carolina claims the third worst corn condition in the U.S. with 39% rated very poor/poor. Conditions vary widely across the Tar Heel State with 37% of the state’s corn rated good/excellent.

Monday’s Crop Progress Report indicated 46% of North Carolina’s corn is mature, a jump from 29% last week, but significantly behind the five-year average of 55%.

The state’s soybean growth surged to 85% setting pods, up from 71% last week, and well ahead of the five-year average of 70%.

Soybean condition in North Carolina was rated 3% very poor, 7% poor, 28% fair, 57% good, and 5% excellent.

Topsoil moisture supplies in the state were rated 1% very short, 19% short, 75% adequate, and 5% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 2% very short, 25% short, 72% adequate, and 1% surplus, according to the USDA.

Map of North Carolina drought conditions
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

Drought conditions are much less severe in North Carolina with portions six counties, or less than 3% of the state reporting D1 moderate drought conditions. Another 37% of the state, primarily the eastern side, is abnormally dry. More than 60% of the state is free of moisture stress.

Of North Carolina’s 100 counties, 17 have USDA disaster designations.

Kevin Matthews farms in Yadkin County, just west of the abnormally dry region in the northern part of the state. Overall, his area has seen above average rainfall in 2022. Last month was the fourth wettest July on record for the county.

green corn with tassles from above
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Matthews says his corn crop has strong yield potential and hopes he can get it harvested without a hurricane or flood getting in the way.

His soybeans also look promising. “Most early planted soybeans will be desiccated soon and then harvested in a few short weeks,” he says.

Other states

Michigan, Iowa, and Illinois have the least corn acreage rated very poor of the top 18 corn growing states.

Colorful graph of corn condition across top 18 corn growing states
Data credit: USDA

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