Monday, July 9, 2012

Illinois Corn Barely Holding On

Some factors in planting corn in Illinois in 2012 have helped the crop to endure the weather better than the last severe drought in 1988 devastated the corn crop across the Midwest.

It's centered around the fact Illinois farmers got their seed in the ground earlier this year, helping the roots spread out before the drought hit, helping to extract ground water to the plant.

Even though, overall, Illinois corn is in good shape (with the exception of the southern part of the state), concerns are rising as to how long the corn can get water from the ground, as it needs to be replenished soon for the corn to give a decent yield this year.

Approximately 66 percent of the corn crop is under extreme stress at this time, with much of the bottom third of the state under the most stress, which some experts say is close to being beyond the point of being able to come back, even if rains to come.

Another area where corn is under heavy stress is in areas with sandy soils, as those soils don't hold water well, and are the first to stress when rains diminish. The worst area in Illinois in that regard at this time is the Mahomet region.

Farmers with better soils continue to have a good corn crop in the state, but the available moisture is rapidly depleting, and the corn will come under more severe stress if rains to come soon.

In June, where corn needs to get about 8 inches of water for the month, it didn't get near that levels, and the corn needed about 6 or 7 inches of water to come from the soil during that period of time.

Because soil moisture is close to being depleted, Illinois farmers can't rely on that in July. Every day there is no rain is a cut into the yields for the season.

Most corn is not in the critical pollination state, and while 3-digit hot weather can have some impact on the yield, if there is adequate water it can overcome most of that. But the combination of hot weather and lack of weather will devastate a crop, as will lack of water in and of itself.

Experts around country say the next couple of weeks are crucial for the 2012 corn crop, and if significant rain doesn't come, the results will be catastrophic.

No comments: