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Indiana office of USDA-NASS




Terms and Definitions

Days Suitable:

In reporting for this item, reporters should take into consideration the activities appropriate for the time of year and which are currently underway. During planting season a day may be rated "not suitable" if soils are either too wet or too dry, or bad weather kept equipment out of fields regardless of soil condition.

Soil Moisture:

The Following general guidelines are for determining topsoil moisture and subsoil moisture (with top-soil defined as the top 6 inches).

Very Short: Soil moisture supplies are significantly less than what is required for normal plant development. Growth has been stopped or nearly so and plants are showing visible signs of moisture stress. Under these conditions, plants will quickly suffer irreparable damage.

Short: Soil dry. Seed germination and/or normal crop growth and development would be curtailed.

Adequate: Soil moist. Seed germination and/or normal crop growth and development would be normal or unhindered.

Surplus: Soil wet. Fields may be muddy and will generally be unable to absorb additional moisture. Young developing crops may be yellowing from excess moisture.

Crop Condition:

The following definitions should be used when evaluating crop condition.

Very Poor: Extreme degree of loss to yield potential, complete or near crop failure. Pastures provide very little or no feed considering the time of year. Supplemental feeding is required to maintain livestock condition.

Poor: Heavy degree of loss of yield potential which can be caused by excess soil moisture, drought, disease, etc. Pastures are providing only marginal feed for the current time of year. Some supplemental feeding is required to maintain livestock condition.

Fair: Less than normal crop condition. Yield loss is a possibility but the extent is unknown. Pastures are providing generally adequate feed but is still less than normal for the time of year.

Good: Yield prospects are normal or above. Moisture levels are adequate with only light disease and insect damage. Pastures are providing adequate feed supplies for the current time of year.

Excellent: Yield prospects are above normal and crops are experiencing little or no stress. Pastures are supplying feed in excess of what is normally expected at the current time of year.

Crop Progress:

Percents should indicate the progress of field activities or crop development. Crop planting and harvest progress covers intended acres not the current acres. If, for example, half of the total current year soybean acreage expected is planted, a value of 50 percent is used. If weather conditions alter plans such that intentions are prevented, a 100 percent is used when planting stops. Generally, a given field is considered to be in a particular stage when 50 percent or more of the plants have reached or gone beyond that stage.

Corn Phonological Stages:

Emerged: As soon as the plants are visible.

Silking: The emergence of silk like strands from the end of ears. Occurs approximately 10 days after the tassel first begins to emerge from the sheath or 2-4 days after the tassel is emerged.

Dough: Normally half of the kernels are showing dent with some thick or dough-like substance in all kernels.

Dent: Occurs when all kernels are fully dented and the ear is firm and solid. There is no milk present in most kernels.

Mature: Plant is considered safe from frost. Corn is about ready to harvest with shucks opening and there is no green foliage present.

Soybean Phenological Stages:

Emerged: As soon as the plants are visible.

Blooming: A plant should be considered as blooming as soon as one bloom appears.

Setting Pods: Pods are developing on the lower nodes with some blooming still occurring on the upper nodes.

Dropping Leaves: Leaves near the bottom of the plant are yellow and dropping, while leaves at the very top may still be green. Leaves are 30-50 percent yellow.

Wheat Phenological Stages:

Emerged: As soon as the plants are visible.

Jointing: One or more nodes visible.

Heading: The head is present, visible, and fully emerged.





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