Like most of Ohio the crops in lower lying areas around Delaware County are showing a lot of stress from ponding and excessive moisture.
The crop conditions seem very inconsistent at this point. When driving around the state you see some good crops but you see some crops under sever stress. Sections of western and northern Ohio have great looking crops. However, I was over teaching with a long time educator from eastern Ohio on Wednesday and he said that in his county these are by far the worse crops conditions he can remember.
USDA Agricultural Statistics Service has around 75% of the Ohio soybean and corn crop rated good or excellent and only around 5% rated very poor or poor. Last year at this time around 80% of the Ohio soybean crop and 85% of the corn crop was rated good or excellent and only around 2% rated very poor or poor. These ratings tend to indicate that overall the crop is not looking as good as last year but not as bad as you might think. According to the National Weather Service it is going to be dry and a little cooler for us through the weekend. I think the dry weather will be very much appreciated. Not only to help the corn and soybean crop dry out but also by farmers looking to make hay and get wheat harvest underway.
If you have driven around Delaware County over the last couple of weeks you probably noticed how much the corn has grown. Corn that is not under stress during the these past two weeks has “exploded” in growth. Under favorable growing conditions corn plants can grow nearly three inches per day between V8, which is the eight leaf collar stage, and V15. However there is considerable variability in corn development across the county, between neighboring fields, and within fields.
As we talked earlier, much of the variation in growth and development is related to differences in rainfall and stress. Within fields, corn subject to ponding and prolonged anaerobic conditions often appears chlorotic and stunted and may be one to three leaf collar stages behind corn growing nearby under more favorable drainage conditions. The rainfall has been variable even within Delaware County. But, another factor in the variation is planting date differences. Much of the corn planted in mid- May or earlier is at or beyond V14-15, some of this corn is even approaching or is at the tasseling stage (VT). Whereas corn planted in early to mid-June is usually at stages no later than V7-8.
What impact will these varying environmental conditions have on kernel numbers and ultimately grain yield? According to Peter Thomason, OSU Extension State Specialist, as early as the V4/V5 stage, ear shoot initiation is completed and the tassel is initiated on the top of the growing point. Kernel row numbers per ear may be established as early as V8. Kernel row numbers are usually less affected by environmental conditions than by genetic background.
Corn hybrids characterized by “girthy” ears exhibit more kernel rows, about 18 or 20 rows, than hybrids with long tapering ears have about 14 or 16 rows. Thomason say that determination of kernels per row or ear length is usually complete by V15 stage and maybe as early as V12. Unlike kernel rows per ear, kernels per row can be strongly influenced by environmental conditions. Ear length can be adversely impacted by stress, usually drought, in the two weeks prior to pollination. Many of our late planted corn fields experiencing excess soil moisture have not yet reached these critical stages. For most of these fields, loss of kernels per row on developing ears may be minimal and impact on potential yield limited. However, if N losses associated with ponding are substantial they may result in N deficiencies that can lead to kernel abortion during early grainfill stages and premature plant senescence.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend as we celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence from July 4, 1776. Take a moment to remember all the men and women who served in or are currently serving in the United States Military, because without their service and sacrifice, there would be no United States of America. We are blessed to live in a country where we have such freedom.