This year will be one to remember for the challenges posed to farming, and many corn and soybean farmers will be anxious to put the year in the rear-view mirror, according to one southern Indiana agronomist. Final yield results should be a mixed bag, and the positive early yields in the south won’t hold up when later season crops are harvested.
“We did get a little corn planted, mostly south of the river in Kentucky, into April and we’re experiencing some very high yield levels,” says Glen Murphy, DEKALB Asgrow Technical Agronomist. “Unfortunately for the bulk of southern Indiana, a lot of the corn was planted from mid-May to mid-June and experienced varying degrees of drought across that region which is shaping up for significantly reduced corn yield over the trends we’ve seen the past five years.”
He says one lesson learned this year will be the value of shorter season hybrids. Recent trends have included planting as high as 117 and even 120-day hybrids as far north as Indianapolis, and those growers have had success because of rainy summers the past five years. But Murphy says that changed in 2019. It was very dry this summer in the south.
“We caught a lot more stress at critical times, and 2019 was that not so subtle reminder, we need to plant the entire spectrum of maturities for a given area,” Murphy told HAT. “Yes, the past few years full-season hybrids have been paying the bills, but in a year like this we’re seeing a very clear trend already that the mid-maturities for a given geography are outperforming the fuller season. Keep that in mind as you’re evaluating hybrids.”
So, Murphy says there could be some very disappointing yield numbers when it’s all wrapped up.
“I do not work with a single farmer in my geography who hasn’t experienced some very promising yields on the front end that are quickly declining and tailing off as they progress through harvest.”
He added this year has been the exact opposite of springs when farmers had the luxury to be patient and plant when the soils are ready.