Agronomy Blog

Plains East Crop Progress

by Leonard Luebker | Dec 18, 2017

In many respects, the weather conditions in 2017 were similar to 2016.  Certain periods of the season matched 2016, but there were unique differences, which played a significant role in the final yields, and crop integrity. 

In Northeast Kansas and Southeast Nebraska, planting occurred with near normal planting. By April 24th, 60% and 75% of the corn was planted respectively for those two areas.  For East Central Nebraska and north, the planting was slowed considerably by cold wet conditions.  Snow fell in the area on May 1. Heavier snow fell to the west of the Plains East Region in Central and Western Nebraska.  Corn planted prior to this time, had anywhere from a dusting of snow on it, to an inch or more.  Corn planted prior to May 1 and even to the middle of May, encountered cold wet conditions.  It was not an optimum planting or emergence situation for the crop.  Many fields had the planter V not covering the seed as it should. Likewise, planting depth for the seed was inconsistent in some fields due to the soil conditions, and the amount of residue being planted into.  Soybean planting occurred in the last half of May carrying over to the first two weeks of June.  Overall, it was a challenging planting season for the upper half of the Plains East Region. 

June:  The first week of June brought warmer temperatures and plant growth.  There were mixed results of herbicide effectiveness due to the cooler, wet, weather conditions.  As a result, there were very few fields that one would call “Perfect”.  

July:  July brought much warmer temperatures as one would expect in Eastern Nebraska.  Southeast Nebraska and Northeast Kansas, were on schedule tasseling starting around the first week of July.  The rest of the Plains East Region tasseled from the 15th to the end of July.  This was dependent on the date of planting and the hybrid maturity planted.  Overall, some fields were 10 days to 2 weeks later than normal tasseling.  The time period around the 20th of July brought high temperatures ranging from 95 to 100 degrees.  Not the ideal tasseling conditions as we try to miss the high temperatures for pollination.  There were skips in the kernel set on the ears of corn to varying degrees causing a concern at the time.

The month of August was quite a surprise to what we normally see in the Plains East Region.  We encountered a cooler than normal month, with ample rainfall.  This really made the corn yields for 2017.  At the beginning of kernel fill, it appeared that the kernel depth may not be deep enough for good yields.  With the cooler temperatures, it allowed for more kernel depth by allowing for time for kernel fill.  The ample moisture, gave the crop the moisture needed adding to the kernel depth.  

September:  Given the normal times for the corn crop to make black layer and mature, the cooler temperatures slowed the kernel fill, so black layer occurred later from a few days to a week or more.  Given the planting dates, we should have seen black layer in mid-September, but this was delayed to the end of September and early October for some fields. 

October:  After the corn black layered, the region encountered some heavy rainfall.  Plant integrity can be compromised with heavy rains.  Plant roots and leaf area will start its natural decomposition.  This will either speed up, or slow down depending on the weather and temperature.  At this time, good temperatures and corn drying conditions are needed so harvest can take shape.  With the heavy rains and cooler temperatures, growers waited till after the soybeans were harvested, or for the corn to dry down. Soybean harvest was delayed due to the wet conditions also.

November:  Harvest was carried into November for the corn crop due to the conditions in September and October.  With the crop essentially 30 days past black layer, it became vulnerable to any adverse conditions that occurred.  In 2017, we had strong winds on four separate days ranging in the 30 to 60 mph range.  The wind took its toll on some fields not harvested by dropping some ears and stalk breakage. 

Harvest is complete now but the year brought many unique challenges not seen in several years.  We have had good weather for the end of November and early December.  Growers have been taking advantage of this by cleaning up fence rows, fall tillage where needed, applying fertilizer, and getting the cows into as many stalks as possible.

Soybeans 2017:  Soybeans can be a tough durable crop adjusting to the changing environments in a given year.  Since the planting dates were spread out, many growers were concerned with the short height in the beginning of July.  They were especially concerned for crop canopy to hinder weed growth.  By the end of July, (soybeans like moisture and heat) their growth turned the soybean height into tall, and 5to extremely tall.  Consequently, with the cooler wet August, parts of fields became top heavy from the excessive plant growth and pod fill.  The soybean yields overall were good, but not quite as good as some in years past.  Many were in the 55 to the 65 bushel range.   The highest yielding fields making 70 bushel or more, had additional manure applied, or a history of good fertility programs.  This is one year that the cooler, wet August, maybe took a few bushels off the top end yield.  Overall, the yields were consistently very good however.

Summing it up, one might say, “What a day, what a week, what a year!!”  Our LG Seed’s product lineup performed extremely well in this adverse year with strong yields!! 

Our products overall handled the conditions better than many of our competitors.  LG5618 did a good job again in the Northeast Kansas area.  LG5643 at 114 days had strong performance from Northeast Nebraska all the way to Northeast Kansas.  LG5548 at 109 days performed well in East Central to Northeast Nebraska. 

In soybeans: C2441R2, C2520R2, C2605R2, C3070R2, C3321R2, C3466R2, and C3989R2, all performed well in the Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Yield® group. C2888RX, C3333RX, C3489RX, C3550RX were strong Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans. C2443LL, C2898LL, C3138LL, C3511LL, and C4100LL led the way in the LibertyLink®'s.

LG SEEDS IN THE PLAINS EAST REGION IS LOOKING GOOD!!  Recent orders have shown the strong performance in 2017!  If you have any questions about what hybrids performed best in your area, check with your DSM or write a request to me on our LG Seeds website.  We’re here to get you started right for 2018! 

Note: The information in this issue is based upon field observations and third party information. Since variations in local conditions may affect the information and suggestions contained in this issue, LG Seeds disclaims legal responsibility therefore. Always read and follow label instructions.
Genuity®, Roundup Ready 2 Yield®, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology, LLC. LibertyLink® is a trademark of Bayer CropScience. AgriShield® is a registered trademark of AgReliant Genetics, LLC. LG Seeds and design are trademarks of SCA Limagrain