How Much Will Late Dry Spell Hurt the Crop?

CROP WATCH: Kernel size and test weight may be issues.

Published on: Sep 9, 2013

Now is the time to get your yield estimate ready for the average yield for the Crop Watch '13 field. Guess closer to the average yield than anyone else and you can win Seed Consultants seed corn for 2014. Entries are due October 15. You can send in the entry form in the magazine, (which will be included again in September or October issues), or you can email your answer to tbechman@farmprogress.com.

Include your name, address, email, cell phone number and acres of each crop that you grow.

The unofficial yield check on the field a couple weeks ago came out at 189 bushels per acre. However, dry weather since then and a developing nitrogen shortage have taken their toll. Bob Nielsen, Purdue University Extension corn specialist, says the nitrogen deficiency symptoms may be due to true deficiency, or may be due to the roots' inability to find more nitrogen in dry soil.

Kernel size and test weight may be issues in Crop Watch 13 field
Kernel size and test weight may be issues in Crop Watch '13 field

Several agronomists are now talking about low tests weights for fields hit hard by heat and drought over the last few weeks. They are reporting kernel abortion. Kernel abortion had already occurred in this field and was calculated into the last yield check. Further kernel abortion wouldn't be expected. However, the plants may not put extra sugars into the remaining kernels, or may not be able to fill them out as much as they would if ample moisture and nutrients were available.

The soil is a silt loam with natural somewhat poorly drained subsoil. There is no gravel under this soil this year. However, that doesn't prevent moisture from being depleted in the subsoil, and the soils winding up deficient and unable to fill as big of kernels as they would otherwise.

Take its toll: Dry weather is reducing yield potential. The question is how much will it pull it down before black layer occurs.
Take its toll: Dry weather is reducing yield potential. The question is how much will it pull it down before black layer occurs.

Stay tuned for further updates. Don't forget to submit your yield entry either in the mail or by email by October 15. Good luck!