Crops Doing Well Despite Lack Of Rain, Temps
by Breanna Fuss, Reporter
August 04, 2013 4:23 PM
In a little over a month, summer will turn to fall. And that means harvesting is right around the corner. But with a late start to the growing season, followed by the lack of rain, and cool temperatures, we looked into what this year’s harvest might look like.
Despite the slow start and unexpected spring snow, agronomists said for the most part crops are doing OK. But now that fall is right around the corner, farmers are left hoping Mother Nature gives them a break and doesn’t send Jack Frost early so crops can fully mature.
“When we do have cooler temperatures, it's a double edged sword,” said Agronomist Curt Hoffbeck with Pioneer.
Hoffbeck said until it’s time to harvest, each day counts more than ever. Due to a late start to the season, some corn isn't even close to tasseling. And now, cool temps are slowing down the growth of crops even more. But Hoffbeck said the cool down could be a farmers blessing in disguise.
“The cooler temps are helping alleviate some of the effects of the dryer conditions,” Hoffbeck said.
Hoffbeck said overall crops aren't as stressed. Their leaves aren't curled up, as they try to beat the heat so to speak. They are open and letting the sunshine in, which then helps the plant mature as it gets pollinated.
“So we are about 50 percent pollinated with this ear,” Hoffbeck explained. “And I would say probably within the next week, most of the corn crop should be well into its pollination stages and beginning to wrap up.”
But maturing corn also need to grow and Hoffbeck said it doesn't do that when it’s cold.
And when it comes to soybeans, Hoffbeck said the cooler temperatures have created a whole different set of problems.
“We aren't getting the full height of the canopy and its keeping the plants shorter,” Hoffbeck said.
Shorter soy bean plants mean more room for some unwanted plants to grow.
“Without canopying and shading the row of soybeans, we are also getting more weeds germinating throughout the season,” Hoffbeck said.
On the 'sunny side' though, he said the lack of heat is helping soy beans continue to blossom, even with the lack of rain.
Hoffbeck said the first frost typically happens between September 24 and October 4. Then around a week to two weeks after that, even a colder frost, called a ‘killing frost,’ happens. So for those crops that are a little bit behind schedule, Hoffbeck said they might mature just in time.
This season’s crops are also healthier due to those temperatures, and yes even the lack of rain. Corn root worm isn’t as bad and there have been less foliar diseases found.