From Grand Forks, N.D., to Okoboji, Iowa, farmers are worried about corn maturing before the first hard freeze.
In the northern Red River Valley, some growers wish that they could work up cornfields now because the corn tasseled so late. But federal crop says no, that they have to wait so actual yields can be determined.
If they could work up the late corn now they might get the have a chance to get fields ready for next year. If they have to wait, it could start raining and that would set them up for a repeat of the spring of 2009.
The Farm Service Agency estimated that approximately 2 million acres didn’t get planted in North Dakota this year. That’s about 10% of the total crop acres in the state.
John McGillicuddy, a corn agronomist from Iowa City, Iowa, told farmers at a field day at Peterson Seed Farms, Harwood, N.D., that USDA’s estimate of a big corn crop this year may be way off.
The crop looks good now in many places, he says, but kernel weight might be low due to the cool, cloudy weather that occurred after pollination.
The last time USDA was way off on the size of the corn crop was 1993 – a year that was similar to 2009, he says.
He says he’s thinking of taking a speculative position in the market, betting that the crop will be considerably small that the feds and traders are thinking.
At Latham Hi-Tech Seed’s field day in Okoboji, Iowa, farmers at my table were discussing where they might be able to store their corn crop.
Apparently, some of the elevators in northwest Iowa are still at least half full of corn because they have not been able to move all the corn they had contracted with VeraSun, which declared bankruptcy and sold its plants. Old contracts were torn up.
It’s going to be an interesting harvest, they said.