Very cool nights and some cool days during July and August have made for a comfortable summer. But how is that cool stretch affecting Indiana corn and soybeans? Dr. Terry Semmel is a Distinguished Field Scientist for Monsanto based at their Lafayette, IN research farm at the Purdue agronomy farm. He tells HAT those crops that look so good across the state really might produce well come harvest.
“It is a positive trend. Every time we have plants that are looking good then generally we have the assumption that the underlying basics are favorable for plant growth, and that’s good for soybean production as well as corn production. In corn, I think in general the crop is a little bit taller, a little bit bigger and a little bit greener than it has been the last couple years, certainly more than 2012. If we have enough heat to get to a good drying position at our first fall harvest it could compete with one of our top yielding years on record.”
So what is the impact of this cool period right now?
“From a growing degree unit perspective we are capturing fewer per day,” he told HAT. “That’s probably good for dry weight accumulation. It’s probably not real favorable for maturing the crop on time, so we’re carrying a little more risk as the days go by of having wetter corn on the day of harvest. However it’s favorable for grain yields, a little bit dis-favorable for grain moisture at harvest.”
And Semmel says the cool nights, some below 50 degrees, haven’t generally been real detrimental yet to either corn or soybeans.
“It’s probably a little more detrimental to soybeans than it is corn. Corn being a C4 plant will rebound and photosynthetic active radiation will increase photosynthesis output quicker in a C4 plant than C3, so we will be able to probably compensate for that in corn. I think that daily highs in the next 30 days is going to tell the story in corn, and if we get down into the mid 40’s in soy at night, then we’re going to start impeding photosynthetic output. So I’m a little bit concerned about the cold temperatures at night in soy and I’m worried about getting enough heat during the day in corn.”
He adds the expected warm-up to the mid 80’s to low 90’s this week will go a long way toward helping the corn crop get back on track for an on-time finish this year.