If rain makes grain then there sure should be lots of yield, or so you would think. The challenge is too much of any weather pattern can turn out to be counterproductive. With all of the moisture, we also need clear skies and direct sunshine so photosynthesis can convert the available water into energy for the plant.
Plants are only able to utilize a portion of the solar radiation spectrum. This portion is known as "Photosynthetically Active Radiation" or PAR which is estimated to be only 40-50% of the total radiation available from the sun. PAR is generally reduced by 25-50% on cloudy days and by as much as 60% on rainy days. This past week, much of the corn crop is around the V5-V6 growth stage. Presently, ear girth is being developed. The moisture may limit the number of kernel rows around. Ear length and test weight will still impact yield, so all is not lost.
Here are recent comments from our Seed Specialists with observations of field conditions across their sales territories.
Ashkum: Areas around Ashkum have received 1.6 to 3+ inches of rainfall for the week. Some ponds did form but, for the most part, evaporated on Wednesday-Thursday. A few isolated areas still have some water standing.
Corn is average to good. The well-drained, early planted fields definitely stand out. On Tuesday, I observed some hail damage in an isolated area around Chenoa. One grower mentioned the area affected covered about 8 miles east to west and approximately 1.5 miles north to south. I did see a few soybean fields in the Fairbury-Forest area showing symptoms of either septoria brown spot or rust. There was not much hay cut. On a positive note, all this moisture will definitely help pastures and the hay that was harvested early.
Streator: The following rainfalls were recorded: We had 2 to 2.6 inches on the 7th, a tenth on the 8th, 4 tenths on the 10th, and another half inch on the 12th. On Wednesday, we were fortunate to miss the golf ball sized hail and 4 inches of rain that hit Marshall/Putnam and Woodford counties. Luckily the storm did not cross route 39. In areas that received 2 inches of rain, there was no ponding or water setting. Both corn and beans are looking great. Corn that was buggy whipped has come out of it very well. It looks unusual with a lot of white leaves across fields. Conditions may dry off just in time to start spraying again. However, that window has been very small. Some hay in the area has been rained on 5 or 6 times so, it is not looking good.
I am sending 2 pictures taken this morning from two of my bean fields that are right across the road from each other. The top picture was chisel plowed and cultivated, the bottom was cereal rye and vertical tilled last fall. I am very happy with the results. Water infiltration was improved with a cover crop.
Pekin: There have been heavy rains this week in central Illinois. Many fields in the Lincoln area have ponds. Also some fields have hail and wind damage. Some growers will be replanting soybeans. The corn that was laid over earlier in the week is starting to look more upright. The corn and soybean crop does look extremely well considering the weather conditions that we have had to deal with.
Atlanta: The area has had very heavy rain this week as several storms went through. We have had about 5 inches. Corn and beans look good. Hay production has been quite difficult when rains come every 12 hours. Crops look pretty good for what they have been through.
Hoopeston: I had the opportunity to do some root digs in corn-on-corn fields which are showing signs of stunting. This picture is 8110 StaxRIB, planted 7 weeks ago in an area which has had 15" of rain since it was planted. On a positive note, the second set of nodal roots are starting to emerge and I believe this corn, with some dry conditions, will start to improve quickly. The roots just look like plants that are 3 weeks old, not 7 weeks. It is strongly recommended that the grower do a nitrate test for nitrogen availability. Like I have always said, "NEVER GIVE UP ON A CROP". If you give up, you know the results.
Corn following soybean fields are greatly improving, and growers are starting to talk about fungicide with all the moisture. We need to keep an eye out for foliardiseases. I saw something that I have never seen in my career. A farmer south of Potomac, IL went into his poor stand of corn and replanted the field with soybeans without working the ground. I assume he is planning on spraying his corn with a grass herbicide. It looked odd to see a full stand of corn and soybeans in the same field. It appeared the corn stand was roughly 80%.
Our soybeans are really struggling with all the wet weather. There are a lot of ponds to replant and post-spraying to do. It appears that the wet weather has made pigweed very difficult to kill with Round-Up. We encourage growers to check for weed pressure. Do not assume that Round-Up is working.
Until next time,
Sean D. Jordal