Parts of Northwest Indiana have seen significant rains in the past week and, in general, are looking better than other areas of the state. Mary Gumz, product agronomist with Pioneer in Northern Indiana, says the dry conditions so far have not reduced yield dramatically, “We still have time to make a good crop and have good yields.” She told HAT that, up until pollination, it is mostly genetics that determines a plant’s yield potential, “The plant sets the number of rows in the V5 to V7 stage, and kernel length is determined in the V10 to V15 stage just before tasseling.” She added, if the rains come during pollination, there will be kernels ready to be filled.
She noted that crops in the northern part of the state are showing some signs of drought stress, “We are seeing shorter plants as more energy is put into root development to obtain moisture.” In addition, corn under drought stress will put out fewer leaves and stalk growth to reduce moisture loss to the plant.
Besides praying for rain, her advice for growers is to scout your fields, “Try and minimize any other stress factors on the plant like weed pressure.” She warned that weeds can be very difficult to control in extremely hot weather. On a positive note, the dry and hot conditions have reduced diseases in the crops this year.
While soybeans can handle drought stress better, Purdue Extension Soybean Specialist Shaun Casteel, says signs of drought stress are beginning to show up in soybeans, “Leaf expansion rates are reduced under drought stress, so leaf size tends to be smaller under drought conditions. This may seem like a natural conclusion, but it is difficult to pick up on it early. We usually notice this sign of drought stress after several weeks have passed by and the soybeans do not appear to be growing.” He added that some soybeans will even start leaf flipping, “This is somewhat analogous to corn rolling. Soybeans will literally flip the leaves to reflect more sunlight by exposing the silver-green underside. This conserves water by reducing the temperature stress experienced by the plants.”[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/06/gumswrap.mp3|titles=Northwest Indiana Corn Still Doing Okay]
Listen to the complete report from Mary Gums on the Pioneer agronomy page.