The Mid-South corn crop is hanging in there, according to state corn specialists, although dry weather and widespread late planting have probably compromised yield potential. Here’s more:


Dry weather continues to sap yield potential from Louisiana’s dryland corn crop, according John Kruse, Extension corn and cotton specialist, for the state. “If it’s dryland corn, it’s suffering and losing yield potential daily. On irrigated ground, growers are doing everything they can to keep up with irrigation schedules during the long, but critical phase from tasseling to hard dough stage where it’s using so much water.”

Kruse said the northern two-thirds of the Louisiana’s primary corn-growing region “has not received any appreciable rain in quite a while.”

Kruse noted that the Louisiana corn crop “is having a little problem finishing out the ears. We’re not getting that last three-quarters to an inch-and-a-half of the cob fully developed. I attribute part of that to drought stress. Even under irrigation, we’ve had very hot and dry days. I’m not sure the crop had complete pollination.

“We also had a quirky situation back in early May. We were getting the warm days, but we were also getting very cool nights. I’m not sure what effect that had on the overall crop. For a while, it did seem to slow down.”

Kruse said the height of the 2011 crop appears to be a lot shorter than normal. “Most of it is still getting to around 16 leaves, but the internode length seems to be shorter. More than just a few fields are only about head high or a little taller, which is unusual for us and the varieties we tend to grow here.”

Kruse says growers are having to irrigate multiple crops at the same time. “It’s been a big challenge for a lot of producers. There are only so many people and so much rollout pipe to go around.”

Kruse projects a corn crop that will be close to its average of around 155 bushels an acre. “There is a gap between the irrigated and the dryland crops. Growers will make 200 bushels under irrigated conditions, while dryland producers will be lucky to get 100 bushels.”