Record Corn Harvest Projected by USDA
The USDA has released its corn production estimates, by state and nationally, pegging the new harvest at a record high 15.15 billion bushels. The 4 leading corn states all expect a bigger corn harvest than last year, Iowa 7%, Illinois 14%, Nebraska 4% and Minnesota 3%.
Midwest growing conditions were exceptionally wet in July, with Minnesota, Illinois and Missouri receiving much-above average rainfall. Iowa rainfall was average. Ohio was the only corn state with sub-par rainfall -- the Midwest's 7th largest corn state.
"Rain makes grain" was the operative phrase for Midwest corn. Ample July encourages successful pollination, insuring a very large number kernels would form on the ear. The size of corn ears is larger than usual as well. On the negative side corn diseases are emerging, common rust, northern corn leaf blight and common smut.
Warm Nights Detrimental
While rainfall has been beneficial for corn development, warm temperatures at night were detrimental. Minimum temperatures in the upper 60s F and 70s F would result in "wasteful respiration" the loss of water from corn plants. Corn plants wastefully "use up" photosynthetic sugars that would otherwise be available for developing kernels, Bob Nielsen the Purdue University agronomist claims.
Peter Thomison agronomist at Ohio State University claims that with very warm night temperatures, more of the sugars produced by photosynthesis during the day are lost. This means less sugar is available to fill developing kernels, shrinking the yield.
Warm nights during the grain-fill period result in excessively high rates of respiration, the process by which plants lose moisture through pores on leaves. Corn plants wastefully "use up" photosynthetic sugars that would otherwise be available for developing kernel s says Bob Nielsen Purdue University agronomist. The rate of respiration doubles for each 13 F increase in temperatures.
White Mold in Soybeans
A few soybean fields have been found with white mold starting to develop in August. This is a fungus disease that affects soybeans, promoted by high humidity and ample rainfall. White mold symptoms usually begin after soybeans start flowering, says Emmanuel Byamukama, agronomist at South Dakota State University. Producers are urged to start scouting for disease. It's best to avoid disease by applying fungicides in advance.
If producers get white mold under control very soon, soybean yields may be protected, Professor Byamukama said,
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