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Million dollar rain creates hope for good corn crop

Biggest worry now is heat

News editor

If corn farmers need encouragement about this year’s harvest prospects, they should give county extension agent Ricky Roberts a call.

While officially remaining “cautiously optimistic,” Roberts said last week’s rain and cooler weather were perfectly timed.

“I have this term out there, ‘million dollar rains,’” he said. “I think the rains we got last week were awfully close to million dollar rains. It’s my hope we’re really set up for a good corn crop.”

With tassels out and silks showing, plants were at the point of pollination, and favorable weather during that time could lead to a good second harvest.

“Not every year do we get a wheat harvest and a fall harvest both,” Roberts said. “Right now we’re set up, and I have high hopes we’re going to get both this year. That’s what this last rainfall did.”

What could dash those hopes, Roberts said, is heat.

“I suppose if it stayed 105 degrees for the next however many days, that could hurt it,” he said. “Prolonged extreme heat might not allow those ears to completely fill.”

Corn is harvested over a longer time period than wheat because of different types of corn and purposes for it.

“Some is shorter season, some is longer season,” Roberts said. “We can probably cut silage the first part of August, and the latter part of August to the first part of September we’ll be picking some corn.”

Rain shouldn’t have posed many problems for farmers who followed wheat harvest with soybean plantings, Roberts said.

“At wheat harvest it’s not uncommon to see the planter rolling right behind the combine,” he said. “There’s a lot of stubble there, and it should allow all those double-crop beans to come up.”

Wet conditions could explain the number of spray planes flying around the area, Roberts said. Ground sprayers might not be able to get into soybean fields, which need applications of herbicides to eliminate weeds.

“Rain is good for crops, but it’s also good for weeds,” he said.

Last modified July 15, 2015

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