Home Indiana Agriculture News Lack of Rain and Nitrogen Hurting Indiana Corn and Soybean Yields

Lack of Rain and Nitrogen Hurting Indiana Corn and Soybean Yields

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Lack of Rain and Nitrogen Hurting Indiana Corn and Soybean Yields

Brian Early
Brian Early

After too much rain in June and July, August is starting off dry. This may be just one more factor robbing yield from this year’s crop. According to the latest USDA crop update, there are still more crops rated as fair to poor than good to excellent (53% vs. 47% on corn and 57% vs. 43% for soybeans). While warmer weather and sunny skies did help soybeans improve somewhat, Brian Early, agronomist with DuPont Pioneer, says parts of Northern Indiana have not seen rain for 2 weeks which beginning to become a concern, “Soybeans are in the middle of flowering and pod set and need rain. Corn also will need regular rains because the root systems of these crops are so compromised this year.”  There are reports of growers in the north running irrigation systems.

Early says another factor that may reduce yields is the lack of nitrogen in fields that have seen a good deal of flooding this year. He told HAT, as the crops move toward maturity, the nitrogen shortfall may become even more acute, “The corn is going to need nitrogen to finish its life cycle; and, anytime it is short, it is going to rob from other parts of the plant.” He added that this could lead to stalk issues closer to harvest. Many corn plants are shorter than average this year. Early says that too will limit yield, but shorter soybean plants actually tend to yield better.

The good news is that disease pressure has not been as bad in corn as some had been forecasting; however, SDS is making an appearance in soybeans. “We are seeing SDS show up and there is really nothing you can do at this point,” stated Early.

Early says the crop is running about 2 weeks behind. Warmer temperatures and frequent rains will be needed to avoid further yield loss.  Parts of Northern Indiana received rain early Monday morning. HAT Chief Meteorologist Ryan Martin says the next chance of rain will not come until later in the week, “Our next good front is still on track for just after midweek. The only tweaks to its path are pushing it just ever so slightly to the south, and delaying its arrival about 6-12 hours fully into Thursday. Rain totals still look to be in the half to 2 inch range with coverage at 75% of the state. A few models are suggesting the heaviest rains will be in that US 24 corridor from Peru to southern Allen County…right across the areas that saw the heaviest rains in June and early July. Other models are pushing that heaviest band farther south into Jay County…but you get the idea. There will be very good rains over most of the state later this week.” He added that the extended forecast shows a strong system for the 14th-15th that can bring half to 1 inch rain potential with 80% coverage statewide, then cool and dry through the 18th.