Wet Weather Delays Harvest

Harvest delays, but USDA field crops report shows corn yields still strong.

Published on: Nov 12, 2013

Last week was a wet one for much of state creating a little downtime for grain farmers trying to finish the 2013 harvest season. Still corn yields remain surprising good overall, according to one University of Missouri Extension specialist.

"The corn really pulled through and did really well due in part to cooler conditions in the summer," says University of Missouri Extension corn specialist Brent Myers.

Early season planting conditions were less than ideal for farmers. Wet fields in spring pushed planting to mid-June in some areas. Some late-planted corn did not pollinate as well as early corn, resulting in marked yield variances.

Still, some producers claim late-planted corn was some of their best. "This indicates how sensitive corn can be to conditions at pollination," Myers says.

HAPPY HARVEST: Despite a few rain delays, farmers across Missouri are leaving the corn fields pleased with yields.
HAPPY HARVEST: Despite a few rain delays, farmers across Missouri are leaving the corn fields pleased with yields.

Myers adds that some later-planted corn did not pollinate well and was developing in the drought period. "In the northeast region there was some 100-bushel corn, but lots of really good yields."

Studies by MU Extension specialist Bill Wiebold show that yields drop by as much as 40% if corn is not planted by June 19.

Wet weather results in late harvest

This is especially obvious in southwestern Missouri, where record rains forced widespread replanting. Harvest is still underway there, and yields are expected to be lower than normal. An Oct. 28 USDA field crops report said harvest progress statewide is right on track with historical averages.

Irrigated cornfields produce significantly higher yields, Myers says. Yields from irrigated cornfields in the Bootheel averaged 250 bushels per acre. Irrigated corn in claypan fields averaged 238 bushels per acre, significantly higher than non-irrigated yields of 150 to 170 bushels an acre seen in MU corn variety trials. Yields typically average around 125 bushels for northeastern Missouri.

Northwestern Missouri producers are reporting average yields of 200 bushels. The average includes reports from the Albany area, where snow fell days after farmers planted corn. Damage during seed imbibition reduces corn stand and makes it more susceptible to pathogens. Corn yields from one snow-impacted study averaged 104 bushels.

Myers says moisture content of corn measures within normal ranges. Low moisture content means less drying time and reduced expense for corn producers.

According to the Nov. 4 USDA crop report, farmers harvested 82% of the state's corn crop.

USDA reports that 3.45 million acres were planted in corn. Missouri ranks 12th in the nation in corn production.

Source: University of Missouri Extension