The most recent Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin on Wednesday 23 July included the following image on corn conditions across the Corn Belt. Note that since 1995 only one other year has had a higher overall corn condition rating at this point in the growing season – 2004.
Source: Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin: http://www.usda.gov/oce/weather/pubs/Weekly/Wwcb/wwcb.pdf
This image clearly shows the impact of the overall cooler temperatures this summer. While the cool weather has been attracting some media attention for the lack of mid-summer heat, for the most part the cool has been very good for crop conditions over the bulk of the Corn Belt. Where moisture is not limited the crop has been able to grow well. Where moisture has been limited the reduced atmospheric demands of the cooler temperatures has reduced potential stress and allowed much of the corn crop to pass through tasseling with limited stress. Note that 2004 – the then-record yield – was also a very cool summer.
Even when conditions have warmed, they have been short-lived and often accompanied by high dew points, additionally reducing the atmospheric demand on crops.
The next question becomes – can we put on enough GDDs to get the crop to reach maturity in time? The current 6-10 and 8-14 day outlooks stay cool. The previous blog post by Jim Angel talked about the outlook for the rest of the growing season.
On July 17, 2014, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center released their outlook for August and beyond.
Currently, we have significant heat through the High Plains and the Midwest. But it will be short-lived. The NWS forecast show cooler conditions returning soon to the region. The outlook for August (first map, click to enlarge) includes an increased chance of below-average temperatures across the upper Midwest, while the Southeast has as increased chance of above-average temperatures. Much of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio have equal chances (EC) of above, below, and near-average temperature.
Much of the Corn Belt has equal chances (EC) of above, below, and near-average precipitation (second map) in August. In other words, there are no clear indications of an increased risk for too much or too little rain.
Dick Sloan evaluates corn no-tilled planted into cover crop mix of winter wheat, cereal rye and hairy vetch.
The following post was written by Charles Wittman, a communication specialist for the ISU Extension Watershed Projects in northeast Iowa following a recent field day at the farm of Richard (Dick) Sloan near Rowley, IA. Dick is a member of the Sustainable Corn Project’s advisory board, chairman of the Lime Creek Watershed Council and a Practical Farmers of Iowa Outreach Leader.
Dick Sloan provided a glimpse into his evolution as a conservationist farmer along with an update of his no-till and cover crop farming practices at a June 19 Lime Creek field day.
“(I am) trying for a more resilient farming,” he told the 66 attending the Practical Farmers of Iowa sponsored event. Unfortunately, heavy rain (nearly 2 inches) and cracks of thunder kept the crowd inside the machine shed, preventing most from getting a close-up view of the practices. Continue reading