Pro Farmer Extra
- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -
August 30, 2013
We had plans with a farming friend to spend some time together on the Mississippi tomorrow, but he just called to cancel.
"We checked the corn two days ago and figured we'd have to start getting ready to chop at the end of next week. After the heat we've had, we checked it again and we've already got the chopper in the field. I can't believe how fast this corn crop has turned. I thought we had plenty of time, but the moisture has just left the plant and it really pushed the development. It's like we went from early dough to dent in two days!"
Guys... that's not good. Normal to slightly below-normal temps can extend the kernel fill period for corn, giving plants more time to build dry matter. As I've said many times, dry matter is weight and weight is yield. If corn rapidly goes from early dough to dent in just a couple of days, the amount of time allowed for dry matter accumulation is greatly reduced. Less dry matter equals less weight and less yield.
My friend might be the exception, but I don't think he is. This corn crop is in trouble. It was supposed to be low-90s today and Des Moines is already at 102 degrees.
The heat is having the same impact on soybeans. Last week they were as green as a gourd and weeks from fully developing flat seeds inside the pods. This week, some fields are already starting to turn from green to yellow. Day length has something to do with that, too, but heat pushed the crop. Unfortunately, most of the Midwest bean crop didn't, doesn't and (according to most forecasters) won't have the moisture needed to finish strong.
Last year's bean crop was saved by a 2-inch general rain brought on by Hurricane Isaac. There's no push of moisture coming this year for a crop that is really struggling to build a yield.
In this week's Pro Farmer newsletter, I said we are normally comfortable with our yield estimates for at least three weeks after the Crop Tour. This year, we couldn't stay comfortable with it for three days! Corn is quickly erasing some of that great yield potential we saw during Crop Tour. Beans were still trying to build yields during Crop Tour, but the "blast drought" we've got right now is ending that process in a hurry.
We'll get back in a few fields over the weekend and early next week to continue our assessment of yield potential. I'm starting to get really concerned about these crops.
Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory
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