By Tim Linscott
“A lot of fields are beyond the point of stress,” Doug Anderson, Perkins County Extension Educator, said of the recent heat and how it affects area crops.
He explained that the corn crop that did not receive any hail damage area producers could ‘take a combine through’ and get out ‘what they could’ this harvest season.
An average for Perkins County is 60 bushels per dryland acre, according to Anderson.
“I’m not saying most didn’t get timely rains, some did, there are probably 100 bushel dryland acres out there, but there is also 20 acre dryland out there as well,” Anderson said.
An example Anderson used was the northern end of Perkins County which would receive rainfall in the amount of 2.5 inches, while the southern end of the county would only receive 1/4 inch, which makes a huge difference this time of year.
“We had spotty rains this summer. The one inch instead of a quarter inch really showed up this year,” Anderson said.
The corn may look brown, but it is not ready to harvest, Anderson explained, and some fields, he expects, will be cut for silage soon.
“There isn’t much tonage there. Producers will get what they can but things have been behind all year,” Anderson said. “In a couple weeks things will be more mature, but we’re a couple weeks behind already.”
Rain may be welcomed by residents and producers, but it is too little, too late for this year’s crop.
“All rain would do right now is help restore the sub-soil moisture for next year,” Anderson said. “At this point the rain can’t do any good for crops. Maybe soybeans will benefit if we have extended nice weather into October and no killing frost right after that.”
Soybeans are doing reasonable as Anderson explained the crop isn’t doing ‘great but not terrible.’
With a late planting season, this year’s crop was behind from the beginning and several days of fog in June complicated matters.
The fog cut down on sunlight plants needed and didn’t provide any needed moisture.
The adage ‘knee-high by July’ in reference to the corn crop is a bit out-dated to some, but Anderson said it was very appropriate this year in the region.
“That old saying may not fit into modern ag as corn is usually over your head and detassling by July, but this year it fit,” Anderson said.
With temperatures still in the 40s at night early in the planting season, the soil did not warm normally, giving roots a harder time establishing themselves in the field. Producers can prepare themselves for such dilemmas but the strange patterns can make things uneven come harvest.
Some fields in the county were half planted and then rain and even snow delayed the rest of the planting.
“Some fields never caught up with other areas in the same field,” Anderson said, adding that producers will have to take half the field and let the other half mature.