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Rollercoaster Planting Season Boosts Pollination Risks

July 17, 2013
By: Rhonda Brooks, Farm Journal Seeds & Production Editor

The proverbial domino effect is at work across farm country, as the delayed planting season means the U.S. corn crop faces later pollination and increased risks from heat and bugs.

Pollination Period p14If it’s not one thing, it’s always another out in farm country. This spring, record rains across much of the country kept corn growers out of their fields. Now, growers face a crop-growth delay going into pollination.

According to the USDA Crop Progress Report, only 16% of the U.S. corn crop was silked by yesterday, July 15 – that’s 50% behind schedule as the five-year average for mid-July is 35%.

As a result, those late-planted fields may not pollinate until late July or even August, when heat is typically high and moisture is low. The late pollination has a couple of potential ramifications farmers will want to tune into, according to Missy Bauer, Farm Journal associate field agronomist. Bauer touched upon the issue of late pollination during the 2013 Farm Journal Corn College in Heyworth, Ill.

 

"If you a late crop that’s trying to pollinate in high heat, you may see significant kernel abortion out there," Bauer notes.

A second concern, with the delayed crop development: extreme pest pressure.

"The uneven crop we have out there means farmers may see more silk clippers than usual, as it’s taking the crop longer to pollinate, which extends the amount of time pests have to feed," Bauer says. "You definitely want to be out in the field scouting during throughout the pollination period."

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Thank you to the 2013 Corn College sponsors:

AgriGold, BASF, Chevrolet, ESN/Agrium, Great Plains, Honeywell, Koch, Novozymes, Precision Planting, SFP, Top Third Marketing

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