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Don’t Give Up on the Corn Just Yet

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Don’t Give Up on the Corn Just Yet

Dr. Bob Nielsen
Dr. Bob Nielsen

Indiana’s corn rating fell again last week as heavy rains and floods caused more crop damage. Yet Purdue experts say some of the corn may yet recover. The latest USDA crop condition survey revealed that there is more bad corn that good corn in Indiana, 52% rated fair to poor with 48% good to excellent. Bob Nielsen with Purdue Extension says getting too much rain in June is not new in Indiana, but what makes this year different is the scale on which the rains and floods have impacted crops, “This is the worst I think I have seen in 30 years.” He estimated that hundreds of thousands of acres of cropland have been flooded.

Nielsen said the state of Indiana corn ranges from very good to a total loss, but in some of those fields he sees hope, “As I have traveled around Northern Indiana, I have seen some fields that look really bad, but I think they can recover.” He said, if we get some moderate weather conditions over the next 2 or 3 weeks, some of the fields will produce a crop, “The exact yield will be hard to determine, but I think they can be saved.”

Nielsen told a Purdue sponsored forum last week that the decision to try to rescue the crop with a late dose of nitrogen or replanting part of all of a field will need to be made on a field by field basis, “If you are in Southern Indiana, there still is a window for replanting because of the longer growing season; but in the north, it is simply too late to plant corn and get it matured before a killing frost.” He added that the decision to apply nitrogen fertilizer should only be made after it is determined that the crop is capable of recovering and has the root system to take up the nutrients.  He recommends doing a pre-side dress Nitrogen test.

Michael Langemeier, an agricultural economist specializing in crop systems, said farmers need to do a cost-benefit analysis before deciding whether to replant. “The main things farmers need to consider is ‘what additional expenses I will incur’ and compare that to the additional revenue,” he stated.