WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The next two months will determine
whether the Indiana corn crop produces high yields as expected or is
significantly damaged by any unforeseen, drastic changes in weather and
diseases, Purdue Extension corn specialist Bob Nielsen said.
This growing season at first glance appears similar to 2009,
when planting was delayed because of cold weather and the growing season was
cool through this time in July, he said.
The cool weather that year continued through much of the
summer and into early fall, further delaying the crop’s maturing.
“Coupled with poor conditions for grain drying in the field
prior to harvest plus the development of ear rots and mycotoxins, grain harvest
was pretty miserable for many growers in 2009,” Nielsen said.
Nevertheless, he added, estimated statewide grain yield in
Indiana set a state record at 171 bushels per acre, exceeded only by last year’s
“One needs to be cautious making comparisons with the 2009
growing season, especially with regard to the unpleasant harvesting experience
of 2009,” he said.
There are several differences between this year and 2009,
Nielsen’s research shows:
* While the onset of planting was delayed this year, most of the crop was
planted ahead of the five-year average pace, compared with the overwhelming late
planting of 2009.
* While cool temperatures to date have slowed the crop’s progress, the
statewide pace of silking as of July 20 remains slightly ahead of the five-year
* Stand establishment — plant population and initial uniformity — appears to
have been excellent throughout the state, except for fields or areas within
fields that sustained damage from excessive rainfall earlier in the
* The National Weather Service’s outlooks for August through September for
Indiana suggest normal temperatures, not excessively hot or cool, and normal
rainfall, not excessively wet or dry. Nielsen said that would bode well for the
important grain-filling period and kernel weight and for minimizing risk of
further delay in the crop’s progress as it moves toward maturity.
* Foliar disease levels to date remain moderate in most fields.
Many of the record-high years for corn grain yield in
Indiana have been those with moderate, if not low, temperatures during the
growing season, Nielsen said.
Potential bad news for farmers, he said, depends on the
weather, diseases, including ear rots, and the adequacy of soil nitrogen for
finishing the crop without any undue photosynthetic stress during the
“The question lingers about the 2014 growing season and its
cool temperatures to date,” Nielsen said. “The honest answer to that question is
time will tell because the next 60 days will decide whether this crop finishes
as strong as much of it looks today or falters in response to yet unknown
weather extremes and/or diseases.”
Seventy-six percent of Indiana’s corn crop was rated in good
or excellent condition as of the week ending July 20, compared with 78 percent
at the same time last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
National Agricultural Statistics Service.
The State Climate Office, based at Purdue University,
expects temperatures next week in Indiana in the mid-70s to low 80s for highs
and lows in the mid-50s to 60. That would be below the normal highs of mid-80s
and lows in the mid-60s.
This July is heading toward surpassing 2009 as the coldest
July on record since 1895.