Assessing the Corn Crop

June 25, 2008 07:00 PM
Sara Muri, Farm Journal Crops Online Editor
According to USDA, nearly half of the U.S. corn crop is labeled as being in good condition. Based on its June 29 assessment, nationwide the corn crop is at
  • Very Poor – 3%
  • Poor – 8%
  • Fair – 28%
  • Good – 47%
  • Excellent – 14%
Unfortunately, farmers in many areas of the country aren't seeing good corn crop conditions, due to excessive rainfall, saturated soils and flooding. The weather conditions that arrive during the next few weeks and months will likely determine the yield levels in the fall, says Roger Elmore, extension corn specialist at Iowa State University.
"If I could order the perfect corn weather,” Elmore says, "I would want it to turn warm with a nice amount of rainfall between now and tasseling time, with cooler weather following.”
The worst case scenario, he says, would be for the weather to become hot and dry. Excessive rainfall and saturated soils don't allow for root exploration and water uptake, creating weak plants.
Replanting Decisions
The less-than-desirable corn fields may have many farmers considering a replant. For those farmers, Elmore says farmers should study the economics of a replant. He says farmers need to ask if the potential return on the corn crop justifies the time and expenses of replanting.
If a replant is in the future, Elmore says farmers should wait for proper soil conditions before planting.
Elmore says it is difficult to advise farmers on planting this late in the year. "All we have is shallow data,” he says. "Very little data has been collected on planting this late.”
Even with the little amount of data, many farmers are still strongly considering replanting. "The high price of corn is completely changing the equation,” Elmore says. "It is making farmers do things beyond the ordinary.”

You can e-mail Sara Muri at

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