Extreme weather like intense heat, drought stress, and other environmental challenges mean a variable corn harvest ahead this fall. Golden Harvest Agronomist Blake Mumm explained why he thinks harvest is going to be so variable this year.
“A lot of things going on with this year, where we had planting conditions that, right off the bat, weren’t in the best shape, and then we had frost that really set some things back and kind of made some things really variable and uneven as far as maturities,” Mumm said. “And then this summer, just the way it’s been with the heat and the drought, we’ve been very challenged this year. A lot of things have been thrown at us, a lot of different weather events, a lot of hail events, and those sorts of things, so with harvest this year, it’s going to be quite variable. I think we’re going to see areas where we’ve got corn that’s ready to be picked, dry in the drought areas, and we’ve got corn that pretty much died off early.”
Mumm talked about the signs farmers should be watching for in fields that ran short on moisture this summer.
“Some of that corn could have died, and it’s really starting to fall apart,” Mumm said. “And as that corn dies or dries down, it’s going to rob nutrients and things from that stalk trying to fill that ear, so it’s going to pull everything out of that stalk so that corn plant in those areas where you have heavy drought would just cannibalize itself and fall to the ground. So, you could have corn on the ground and then, in that same 12 rows, eight rows, whatever, you’re going to have corn standing and looking really nice. So, there’s going to be a lot of variability across that field, especially in those areas where it ran out of moisture early, we could have a lot of stalk quality issues where corn goes on the ground.”
Extreme heat hit the Midwest, and Mumm said that also has a big effect on corn.
“There is a difference between heat and drought,” Mumm said. “Obviously, we know the effects of what drought can do to a corn plant, but heat can also affect it. If we have a really high temperature, it can affect how it pollinates, and earlier in the year, through pollination stage if we have a lot of high heat, especially nighttime. Say our nighttime temperatures are quite a bit warmer than normal, that corn plant just kind of keeps moving along. It really doesn’t have time for that respiration process to really get good grain fill and fill those kernels out. If we have a lot of heat through the day and then through the night, that plant kind of keeps moving right along. We can reduce yields anywhere from 2.8 – 4.7 bushel is what studies have shown. If our nighttime temperatures are one degree warmer than usual, we can really reduce those yields just by those warmer temperatures at night.”
Looking ahead to next year, Mumm provided some recommendations for farmers who see losses during the harvest.
“We have hybrids that perform well in drought situations and heat stress situations: G15J91, G16Q82, would work really well in those drought situations as well as where we have higher heat throughout the summer,” Mumm said. “Products like G00A97, G10L16, G11V76, G16Q82, those work really well in drought situations. It’s just kind of hedging your bet, not putting all your eggs in one basket as far as a hybrid concerns, planting different hybrids to kind of hedge your bet against heat and drought but also be able to plant hybrids that take advantage of the really good conditions too.”
Golden Harvest offers a library of agronomy articles and the Agronomy in Action 2022 Research Review, which provide more agronomic insights and recommendations, at www.GoldenHarvestSeeds.com. To find better solutions for your corn and soybean acres, contact a Golden Harvest Seed Advisor at GoldenHarvestSeeds.com.