Agronomy Blog

Eastern Iowa Crop Progress

by Ryan Dunsbergen | Oct 2, 2017

Once again, 2017 was a year different than all the others.  The majority of corn has hit black layer in the southern half of Iowa.  In northern Iowa, most of the early maturity corn has reached black layer while the later maturity corn is at half milk line and will reach maturity in the next week or two.  There are a handful of corn fields that have been harvested in the southern part of the state.  Farmers who have yield monitors are reporting significant variability within fields with most people being pleasantly surprised at what they are harvesting overall and moisture's being around 20%.

No matter where we were in Iowa, the temperature pattern has been unique.  We were hot during pollination and we were about 100 heat units above normal at the end of July.  Once August hit, we became significantly cooler.  In fact, temperatures dropped so much there was quite a bit of speculation about a possible September frost.  It turns out this speculation was all for naught and the crops have continued to mature normally.  According to the Iowa Environmental Mesonet website, there are some drastic differences in heat units since April 15th.  While some areas are currently 250 heat units below normal, other areas are 250 heat units above normal.  And these areas are only 4 counties apart.    

Eastern Iowa rainfall was all over the board this year.  Right now, according to the Drought Monitor, nearly all of eastern Iowa is under some level of drought.  Some places in northeast Iowa are 5 inches above normal rainfall, however they have had very little rain the past six weeks.  Some places in southeast Iowa are 10 inches below normal.  While there have been some counties in southern Iowa receive rain the past two months, the counties of Clarke, Warren and Marion are experiencing the toughest drought conditions in Iowa right now.    

Crop quality is becoming somewhat of a concern.  I have seen some ear rots such as Diplodia and Fusarium in corn fields.  They are well below the level of occurrence as last year, but they are still present.  If these ear rots continue, we could see a reduction in test weight and grain quality leading to long term storage issues.  The concern is that some fungi produce mycotoxins harmful to animal and human health while others do not.  Fusarium ear rot has the potential to produce mycotoxins whereas Diplodia ear rot will not.  I am also starting to see stalk rots appear in corn with the most prevalent being anthracnose and fusarium.  Going out and doing push and pinch tests in your corn fields would be very prudent.  Keep in mind the number 15.  If you see stalk rots in 15% of your corn plants it would be wise to schedule that field for an early harvest.   

Early yield reports show that LG5548, LG5618, LG5616, LG5643, LG5650 and LG5663 are having fantastic years.  On the early corn, I have not seen much for yields yet, but I am excited to see how our new hybrids of LG5494, LG5505, LG5525 and LG5530 will perform against the industry.

Soybean yields are coming out better than expected in southern Iowa.  This is somewhat surprising to me as, in general, we did not have significant August rains.  We had a lower presence of Sudden Death pressure this year compared to last year.  On the flip side, there was quite a bit of White Mold that showed up in soybeans once you went north of Highway 30.   I am anxious to see how bean yields will be in northern Iowa, specifically in these fields with high levels of White Mold.

Early yield reports show that C2888RX, C3010RX and C3489RX are performing incredibly well.  When evaluating plots, I have really liked the looks of C1838RX, C2201RX and C2580RX as well as C1870R2, C2255R2, C2441R2 and C2520R2.  And when it comes to LibertyLink® soybeans, our Group 2 soybeans are looking great!

Have a safe and happy harvest!

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