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The corn crop near Grand Island is doing well considering a late start planting for many and wet periods. These corn plants along Worms Road look good even though 1.5 inches of rain fell overnight on Tuesday, while some surrounding areas received 4-plus inches of rain, sparking flooding. 

Nebraska’s corn and soybean crops continue to lag behind with the beginning of fall less than three weeks away. August’s record rain and cool weather hindered the crops’ development.

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reported for the week ending Sunday that the state’s corn condition rated 1% very poor, 5% poor, 17% fair, 56% good and 21% excellent. Corn at dough stage was 90%, behind the 97% last year and the five-year average of 95%. Dented was 54% percent, behind the 70% last year and the 66% average. Mature was 1%, behind the 8% last year and the 7% average.

For soybeans, condition rated 1% very poor, 4% poor, 16% fair, 64% good and 15% excellent. Soybean setting pods was 90%, behind the 97% last year and the 98% average. Dropping leaves was 1%, behind the 14% last year and the 10% average.

A factor hindering the crops’ development is the amount of rainfall. The National Weather Service in Hastings said this has been the wettest summer in Grand Island since 1908, with almost a foot of rain falling in August (11.94 inches). As the Nebraska State Fair can testify, August’s rainfall was greater than the average summer rain for Grand Island.

According to the weather service, this summer had almost 10 times the rainfall received during the summer of 2012, which was one of the more extreme drought periods on record.

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Grand Island’s rainfall was tropical in nature during August as the city received more than Hilo, Hawaii, receives in a typical August (10.66 inches).

Cool weather also dominated August because of the cloud cover involved in being the second-wettest month on record. The most rain in one month in Grand Island came in June of 1967, when 13.96 inches fell. That was the month when massive flooding took place throughout Grand Island, leading to the development of the Wood River Flood Control Project that was competed in 2004. That project helped keep Grand Island from flooding again after the record rainfall and snow melt this year.

With four months to go, 2019 now ranks as the 13th-wettest year on record. With Husker Harvest Days starting Tuesday, rain is again in the forecast. September has averaged 2.2 inches since 2000.

The warm weather this week will help the crop in its late-season development. Thursday’s high will be in the 90s, with a low of about 64. It will be cooler on Friday, with a high near 82 and a low of 62, with a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1 a.m.

Saturday will begin another cycle of days with chances of showers and thunderstorms, with highs in the mid- to upper 70s and lows in the 60s. At this point, the weather service is saying there’s a 20% chance of rain and thunderstorms on Tuesday, which is opening day of Husker Harvest Days. The temperature that day is forecast to be near 80.

For other Nebraska crops, sorghum condition rated 1% poor, 12% fair, 68% good and 19% excellent. Sorghum headed was 97%, near the 100% both last year and average. Coloring was 27% well behind the 73% last year and the 67% average.

Pasture and range conditions rated 1% very poor, 2% poor, 12% fair, 66% good and 19% excellent.

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