Dry conditions are beginning to be a serious problem across many parts of Indiana. According to the latest USDA crop update, 43% of Indiana topsoil is rated as short to very short on moisture and 35% of the sub-soil is rated short to very short. Southeast Indiana remains one of the wettest parts of the state, while the Southwest counties are among the driest.
Many Southwest Indiana growers got their corn planted in March and got good early development with timely rains in April, but so far May has been a dry month for this part of the state. Pioneer agronomist Darren Goebel says the corn is showing the stress, “The Princeton – Mt. Vernon, area continues to be quite dry. I have seen corn rolling in the afternoon sun the last couple of days.” Goebel said this is not as serious a problem now because it just forces the young plants to put down deeper roots, but he worries about the dryness continuing, “We definably need a rain.”
While the hot dry weather has hurt the corn, it has pushed the wheat crop toward maturity. Goebel says the Indiana wheat harvest will begin very soon, “I think we will see the wheat harvest start by the end of May and first week in June.” The latest USDA figures show that, “Ninety-three percent of the winter wheat acreage has headed compared with 40 percent last year and 53 percent for the 5-year average. Condition of winter wheat, still standing, declined slightly and is now rated 70 percent good to excellent compared with 59 percent last year at this time.”
Meanwhile, insect pressure has been heavy especially in soybeans. Goebel told HAT, “There is very heavy pressure in soybeans that have not been treated with seed treatments.” He also noted that he has seen some armyworms and cereal leaf beetles feeding in some wheat fields.
Goebel says with rapid early growth many herbicide programs will have to be moved up, “Corn is going to grow faster than we expect, and it is very important to get the herbicides applied at the correct time.” He said a late application can cause damage and reduce yield.
Listen to the complete report with Darren Goebel at the Pioneer agronomy page.
[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/05/dry-SW-wrap.mp3|titles=Dry Conditions Stressing Indiana Corn]