Understand The Impact Of Recent Weather On Grain Crops

Posted: June 18, 2015

The warm wet weather is having mixed effects on our grain crops. Extension Agronomist Greg Roth shares a few things to think about for each of our major crops.

Our early planted corn crop has great development and in many areas of central PA the early corn will be covering the rows by the summer solstice and be waist high or taller in the southern counties. This should be a positive for establishing higher than normal yield potential and then realizing it if we continue to avoid drought stress. Having a fully charged profile should help us weather dry spells in the critical month of July for the crop. On another note, conditions have been fairly good this month for interseeding cover crops and emergence but the window is closing on earlier planted fields.
Soybeans are growing well in various stages of growth. Many educators are reporting reduced stands in drilled no-till soybeans and better stands where planters were used. This is probably due to poor seed to soil contact in high residue fields. Now would be a good time to assess soybean stands and make a judgment on emergence rates you are achieving with your system. It is also a good time to check for nodulation on soybeans on first year fields- generally you should be seeing some nodules 4-5 weeks after planting.

Our wheat is benefiting in some ways from the rain as the drought stress is being abated but the pressure from leaf rust and leaf and glume blotch diseases is increasing dramatically on wheat that wasn’t sprayed with a fungicide. In many areas the wheat is short and that will likely impact straw yields this year but Roth is still hopeful for some good grain yields and grain quality.
Barley harvest is underway in southern counties and test weights will likely suffer if crops get too much rain following physiological maturity. For both wheat and barley, harvesting as soon as possible after maturity will help to maintain test weight, reduce vomitoxin levels, sprouting and in wheat, avoid declining falling numbers.

(Contributed by Leon J. Ressler, District 17 Director as part of his Now Is The Time Column for June 20, 2015.)