The almost nonstop rain has made wheat harvest very difficult. Fields too wet to support equipment have slowed progress, especially in the north. The excess moisture along with cooler temperatures left some of the matured and harvested wheat sprouting and molding, as well as suffering from aflatoxin and vomitoxin.
Brian Bush, with DuPont Pioneer, says most fields in southern counties have been cut, and, although very little progress was made this past week, yields are good, “Despite less than ideal weather conditions, the yields have been good from the 70 to 80 bpa range with even a few fields yielding 100 bpa.” Yet, in other parts of the state, the yields are not so good. In last week’s report, the USDA cut Indiana wheat yields at an average of 72 bpa down 4 bushels from last year. According to the latest USDA crop update, “Regionally, Indiana winter wheat was 81% mature in the North, 86% in Central and 99% in the South. By region winter wheat harvested was 5% in the North, 25% in Central and 77% in the South. The condition rating put Indiana wheat at 52% good to excellent. The 53% wheat harvest progress was behind the 76% mark of last year and the average of 83%.”
In the southern half of the state, it is traditional to plant a crop of soybeans after the wheat comes off, but this year Bush says many growers are having second thoughts about double crop soybeans, “Especially farmers closer to Indianapolis are considering not planting a double crop of soybeans. They do not feel they have enough daylight and growing degree days to get the crop to maturity before a frost.” He says, historically, planting soybeans in mid-July will still work, but perhaps not this year, “Research shows we can still plant soybeans as late as July 20 and be okay, but many growers are not sure they want to risk it this year.” He added, if the cool wet weather continues, the likelihood of success with a double crop is questionable.
Bush recommends that growers walk their fields and make assessments field by field, “A lot of the crops look really ugly, but, in the case of soybeans, there is not much we can do. The yellow and stunted beans will recover with some sun and warmer temperatures.” He added, if growers are concerned, then split the soybean plants and examine if the nodes are still alive.