Farmer concerns over flood and frost should dissipate soon with warmer, drier weather moving into the Corn Belt, says Drew Lerner, meteorologist and owner, World Weather Inc.
“Last week, the corn crop had to deal with both very cool temperatures and a lot of cloudy, rainy days, but going forward, conditions look pretty decent for corn development,” says Lerner. “It may not be perfect everywhere, but this week’s weather should be a lot drier and warmer in the Corn Belt than last week.”
With less cloudiness, less rainfall, and more heat moving in, the nation’s corn crop should start to develop more rapidly and soybean growers should have good conditions to finish planting, says Lerner. “For the rest of spring and early summer, we’ll likely see alternating periods of wet and cool with warm and dry conditions, which is pretty much what you’d want to have for optimal corn and soybean production,” he says. “So, in general, I don’t see a lot of trouble in store for this year’s corn crop.”
With the early planting that occurred in April, most corn should go into pollination without excessive periods of hot and dry weather, adds Lerner. On the other hand, “a drier bias will likely be showing up later in the crop year, and that could cause stress to soybeans and late-planted corn.”
After recent hail, frost and flooding problems, farmers should take time to check cornfields and make stand counts, advises Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois Extension agronomist. “The primary thing to look for when walking fields right now is to check plant populations,” he says. “Unevenness in plant size is a concern, but if you’re close to a full stand, we’re probably at a point in the season where you wouldn’t want to consider replanting for better uniformity.”
Also, the frost last week in Illinois may not have been severe enough to cause much yield loss to corn, says Nafziger. “Temperatures did get down to around 30-31° F, but a breeze allowed leaves to stay in better shape than during a normal frost, when the air is still,” he says. “A lot of leaves may lack a nice green color, but if you’ve still got a stand, you should be alright. About all you really need now is more heat and sunshine.”
Farmers who are seeing flooded fields may be facing a replant decision, however. “It’s never good to see water standing in corn fields for very long,” says Nafziger. “Still, even with some flooding, I think most farmers here consider themselves fortunate, due to the warm, dry weather we had in April that allowed us to plant early.”
For more information about what to expect after last week’s floods, frost and hail, click here: http://ipm.illinois.edu/bulletin/article.php?id=1313. For more information about weather and its impact on corn production, click here: http://www.worldweather.cc/.