Purdue agronomist: “Cautiously optimistic” about corn crop

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Indiana's corn is showing potential to produce a bumper crop for the second consecutive year, but much of it could "suffer quickly" if growing conditions turn unfavorable, Purdue Extension corn specialist Bob Nielsen says.

He is cautiously optimistic as the crop enters the second half of the growing season toward harvest.

"Yes, the corn crop in Indiana looks good at this point in time. Yes, the prospects for good yields this year are promising," he wrote Tuesday (July 15) in his online Chat 'n Chew Café. Likening the growing season to baseball, he added: "But the crop has only 'rounded second base' on its way to 'home plate.'"

Seventy-five percent of Indiana's corn crop was in good or excellent condition as of the week ending July 13, compared with 80 percent a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nationally, 76 percent of the crop had that rating as of last week.

Last year, Indiana farmers produced a record 1.03 billion bushels of corn. A bountiful crop two years in a row would be a marked contrast to 2012, when extreme, widespread drought exacted a heavy toll on crops and Indiana farmers produced only 597 million bushels of corn.

The upside for some of the 2014 corn crop, Nielson said, is that stand establishment was good, there has been no shortage of rainfall to date for most fields, temperatures have been moderate, there have been few incidents of plant disease and the weather forecast for much of the pollination period this month looks favorable.

The downside, he explained, is that planting was delayed for some farmers because of frequent spring rain, stand establishment was "terrible" in some fields, requiring at least one replanting, and subsequent, excessive rainfall caused root death or damage, plant mortality, overall stunting of the crop and significant loss of soil nitrate-nitrogen.

"If Mother Nature's 'spigot' would turn off and soils rapidly dry to excessively low levels, much of this crop that is likely shallow-rooted due to the early wet season would suffer quickly," Nielsen said.

Conditions have been conducive recently for development of foliar diseases. "But time will tell whether they will explode or not over the coming weeks," he said.

Nielsen also said it was curious that excessive rain in many areas has not resulted in widespread symptoms of nitrogen deficiency. The question of whether nitrogen deficiency may yet appear during the grain fill period and limit kernel weight lingers.

"Any severe stress during the grain fill period that limits photosynthesis will encourage corn plants to remobilize stored carbohydrates from the lower stalk tissue to the developing kernels," he said.

Such "cannibalization" of lower stalk tissue could lead to root or stalk rot disease, leading to weaker stalks and higher risks of stalk breaking or lodging - falling over - before harvest. Such severe photosynthetic stresses include foliar disease, nutrient deficiency, hail damage and drought stress.

Weather patterns over the next few weeks are not expected to change much, aside from the unseasonably cool temperatures this week, said Dev Niyogi, state climatologist based at Purdue.

"For our region, the persistence of wetter and warm conditions will likely continue," Niyogi said. "There is nothing on the horizon to expect massive, large-scale changes."

But there will be increased likelihood of thunderstorms, with heavy downpours, especially as tropical systems become active, he said. "The atmosphere looks primed for that."

The climate office also said an El Niño weather pattern bringing slightly cooler-than-normal temperatures and seasonally normal to slightly wetter-than-normal conditions could arrive in mid- to late August.

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Comments (0) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Kinze 1500 Grain Cart

The Kinze 1500 Grain Cart is engineered for speed and reliability required of custom harvesters. Load up to 1500 bushels ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form