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Corn cooked, soybeans singed by drought

Staff writer

Prospects for this summer’s corn harvest are better than last year, but area crops are still suffering from drought conditions.

“It still appears to me that we’re going to get the opportunity to cut some corn this year. Last year at this time we’d pronounced last rights on the corn,” Marion County Extension Agent Ricky Roberts said.

Jason Kruse of rural Marion will be harvesting the corn he planted, but the drought will dictate when he cuts it and what he does with it.

“Some of it we put in the silo every year, but we may put more in — it depends on what it looks like, whether it’s better off as sileage or grain,” Kruse said. “The drought’s having a pretty drastic effect. We’re looking at putting corn in the silo pretty soon.”

Kruse said his crop has benefited from favorable planting conditions.

“Spring came early, so we were able to plant earlier, and the corn was farther along before this heat hit,” Kruse said. “I think it’ll be a little better than last year.”

Roberts said soybeans are more resilient against drought and heat than corn, and it is difficult to assess right now how crops will turn out.

“Beans take a little better approach – we like their attitude better,” Roberts said.

“Soybeans have the ability to sit there and hang on. They’ll bloom and drop those blooms and not do a lot,” Roberts said. “The’ll say ‘I’m not going to choke out on you, but eventually I need that rain.”

Kruse agreed soybeans are more hardy in drought conditions, but he said crops are entering a critical period.

“To a certain extent they’ll wait so long, then they have to go ahead and grow. July is usually the critical month for soybeans — they’re growing right now,” Kruse said.

“If this continues through August the beans will be worse than they were last year,” Kruse added.

Roberts said the later growing cycle of other crops makes it too early to predict how they might turn out.

“As far as some of the other crops go we have time. We have a few fields of milo trying to head out right now, but we have some time before that’s going to happen,” Roberts said.

Kruse has a remedy in mind shared by many farmers this summer.

“A two-inch rain would be wonderful,” Kruse said.

Any optimism about crops could be dashed if the drought and high temperatures persist through August, Roberts said. “We’ve got a long ways to go yet, and we’re not out of the woods yet by any stretch of the imagination.”

Last modified July 12, 2012

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