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Farmers Eye Crop Development as Summer Turns Hot and Dry

With crop fields simmering within the early July warmth, some farmers are lacking these soggy days of spring.

“Too much rain early on was the hold-up; now we NEED rain and can’t buy one,” mentioned Genny Haun, who farms in northwest Ohio. “I’m fearful crops will begin to go backwards if we do not get a measurable rain soon.”

It’s a typical summer season story, and one which was echoed by farmers throughout the nation when DTN consulted its Agronomy Advisers this week, a gaggle of trusted farmers and ranchers who report on crop circumstances and present occasions in agriculture all through the season.

From Texas as much as Ontario, and from Ohio out to the Rockies, farmers are watching the climate fastidiously as the corn crop enters the crucial stage of pollination, soybeans start flowering and spring cereals begin grain fill.

“Drought conditions have begun in the Northern Plains and in the Eastern Midwest and have intensified and spread in the Southern Plains,” famous DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist Bryce Anderson. “In the Eastern Corn Belt — Michigan, parts of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio — soil moisture conditions have really tailed off from very saturated to now dry, even borderline drought. I’ve also heard comments from the southwest Plains that the pivots have been running almost non-stop since planting began.”

HOW HOT IS TOO HOT?

In some components of the Corn Belt, hovering temperatures aren’t worrying farmers simply but.

“We have had 14 inches of rain in the month of June here in southeast Iowa, so we are going into this period of hot weather with a full tank of moisture,” mentioned Iowa farmer Mike Berdo. Likewise, in southwest Indiana, Scott Wallis caught a pleasant rain final week and his corn and soybeans are thriving.

“The heat here is coupled with high humidity — hard on humans but good for the crops,” he famous.

In components of Missouri and Kansas, good subsoil moisture is protecting spirits up and crops wholesome, however overly dry circumstances are on the horizon.

“The corn has recovered from a really wet spring, and it’s nice to have the beans root down a little,” famous north-central Missouri farmer Kyle Samp. “Nothing is hurting yet, but it won’t be much longer before we are wanting a rain.” In central Kansas, cool nighttime temperatures are protecting the worst results of the July warmth at bay, added farmer Kyle Krier.

Minnesota farmers Justin Honebrink and Mark Nowak are additionally watching crops thrive in the summertime solar — due to a deep properly of soil moisture — however with an anxious eye towards dry circumstances. “Another month might change my attitude, but for now it looks good,” Honebrink mentioned.

Elsewhere, regular summer season warmth and dryness has tipped into drought.

“Hot and dry is the storyline out here in the desert,” mentioned Texas Panhandle farmer and rancher Mike Lass. “The majority of dryland crops have failed.”

Pivots might be operating arduous in jap Arkansas this month, farmer Charles Williams added. And in central Ohio, Keith Peters is grateful for the overgrown rye cowl crop he struggled to terminate this spring, now that its residue is offering much-needed cowl for soil moisture in his crop fields.

In Michigan and Ontario, farmers are watching crops begin to go downhill.

“With two weeks of 88- to 94-degree days, and no rain beforehand to help, corn is really starting to suffer,” mentioned southern Ontario farmer Dan Petker. “The heat stress and lack of significant rain couldn’t have come at a worse time for the winter wheat and cereal rye crops. We had perfect conditions at pollination, but now during grain fill, we’re seeing stress and fast die-off, rather than proper maturing.”

PEST SPECTRUM WIDENS

Farmers reported a spread of crop growth — from brown silks in corn in Arkansas and cotton beginning to bloom in Texas, to the primary tassels poking out in Iowa and Indiana, and beans simply beginning to flower in Missouri.

Winter wheat harvest is properly underway, as properly. Ohio’s Peters expressed reduction at how properly his wheat fields had yielded, as he headed again into the sphere for double-cropped soybeans.

As summer season deepens, the pest spectrum is widening. The shiny backs of Japanese beetles are catching eyes in Missouri, Samp famous. “We’ll have to keep an eye out for silk clipping again this year,” he mentioned.

In Kansas, Kyle Krier is monitoring head worms in sorghum and soybean loopers on his soybeans.

Armyworms marched by means of the northern Corn Belt with a vengeance lately, added Michigan’s Simpkins and Ontario’s Petker. And soil-borne bugs have been so intense in each states that they chewed by means of full insecticide doses coated on seeds in some fields, each famous.

For others, weed stress would be the season’s greatest pest. Spray home windows this spring and summer season have been restricted by each climate and, within the case of dicamba, court docket selections and state cutoff dates.

Pigweed plagues Arkansas’ Williams, the place Xtend crops nonetheless dominate the state regardless of Arkansas’ continued use of restrictive cutoff dates for dicamba use. Farther north, waterhemp and marestail have been on the prime of Agronomy Advisers’ drawback weeds.

“The weeds took off a little late, but once they did, they grew faster than expected,” Minnesota’s Honebrink famous. Fortunately, residual herbicides held up properly in a few of his fields, and he managed to scrub up the fields the place weed stress broke by means of. Loads of work — however no complaints, he concluded.

“With everything else going on right now, the farming aspect of life is looking great,” he mentioned. “Hopefully, it stays that way through fall.”

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