If rain keeps up, corn crop could be golden

What’s bad for the wheat was good for the corn

Staff writer

At this stage of the wheat-growing phase this year farmers were very pessimistic about the crop quality, however it is the exact opposite with corn.

“I’ll say it with guarded breath because we’re still a long way from the bin, but the corn is looking awesome,” Marion County extension agent Rick Roberts said. “In my opinion we’re set up to have a special kind of harvest, but again it’s not in the bin so it can still go south.”

Roberts estimates that if it keeps raining every few weeks, then corn will continue to flourish. Already most fields are nearly 6 feet tall.

“If it can keep cool through the pollination process and it does not forget to rain completely or we don’t get a freak hailstorm things will be good,” he said.

Corn maturity stages throughout the county are varied because of when it was planted, and the varieties planted. Early planted, short season corn is already tasseling, while other fields might be only three of four feet tall.

In his wanderings around the county, Roberts said he still has yet to see a field with any corn distressed, which isn’t typically the case.

“It hasn’t been typical wheat harvest weather, and that is what’s making the corn so good,” Roberts said.

Hillsboro Cooperative Grain and Supply seed manager Jeff Youk said farmers are finding they might have an excellent corn crop at the expense of wheat harvest.

“June this year has been lousy harvest weather,” he said. “You need hot dry weather for harvest, but the opposite is good for the corn. The cooler humid days with rain have produced corn that looks excellent, so people are excited, but anxious to get one crop in before focusing on another.”

Youk estimates that if it continues to rain an inch or more every two weeks, the harvest could be the best the area’s seen in several years, however if the rain stops, it could spell trouble for kernel sizes.

He said fields that are tasseling will only take a few days to pollinate, and the current 90 degree humid weather is ideal for pollination.

“If it’s hot, dry and windy then sometimes the pollen doesn’t take,” Youk said.

Most fields will tassel and pollinate over the next few weeks, Youk said. Good pollination conditions should mean that even if the rain stops, ears will be full of kernels, but they will likely be small and shriveled.

“We’ve gotten rain at the right times, hopefully it keeps going,” he said. Corn is typically harvested in September.

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