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Indiana Corn Beginning to Show The Stress

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Some areas of the state saw record high temperatures over the weekend; and, for several northern counties, this has been the driest spring on record According to the latest USDA report, 56% of the Hoosier corn is rated as good to excellent, with 44% called fair to poor. For soybeans, 51% are rated good to excellent, with 49% fair to poor. Topsoil moisture declined in the past week, rated at 49% short and 22% very short as of Sunday.  More than half of the state’s subsoil is rated as short to very short.

 

Todd Hoffman farms in the Silver Lake region of Kosciusko  County.  He has seen the rain go north of him and south of him but not fall in his area.  As a result, the crops are beginning to show stress, “Just within the past few days, the corn has really started to show signs of stress; especially on the hillsides, it looks like the crop is just running out of moisture.” He told HAT some fields are showing more stress than others, “The no-till fields are looking more stressed than the tilled ones.” He suggests that, for some reason, the no-till fields are not getting the root structure that the tilled fields are.

 

Overall, Hoffman said the crop got off to a good start, but needs some timely rain to head into pollination, “We have corn that ranges from about 2 inches to about 2 feet. The crop got off to a good start and we have the making of a good crop, but we need more moisture.”

 

Purdue agronomist Bob Nielsen says, while it is true that a field of young corn technically does not use a lot of water on a per acre basis every day, it nevertheless requires adequate soil moisture to support the initial development of the young plants, “The success or failure of the initial development of a corn plant’s nodal root system greatly influences the success or failure of the young corn plant in transitioning from life support using kernel reserves to relying on the developing nodal root system for life support. This important transition period begins around the V3 stage of development (three visible leaf collars).” Nielson said the early pace of planting means the corn crop is very young and may have trouble dealing with the hot weather and dry soils we are seeing, “Approximately 76% of the state’s corn crop is currently at leaf stage V5 or younger (my estimate). Maybe a third or more is V3 or younger (my estimate).”

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Listen to the complete report with Todd Hoffman.

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