2020 was a tough year for most of our area for crops. The drought we suffered in a lot of the area severely hurt yields. We saw a lot more acres get chopped as corn silage that normally gets shelled as grain. The drought was somewhat spotty because there were some areas that actually got some timely rains and had close to normal yields. What helped most farmers is the improvement in the Genetics in our Channel Seed corn If we would have had this weather 15-20 years ago we would have seen 50-75 bushel yields instead of 120-140 bushel yields.
Most areas were down around 25 percent in yield. So what can a farmer do about the weather? I am sorry to say you cannot make it rain. Very few farmers have irrigation, and that still costs. Corn Hybrid selection is very critical in helping to alleviate the risks from the weather. There are huge differences in how certain Hybrids will react to the weather. Another key is timely planting. This is something that can pay huge dividends. A corn plant will start determining its yield (kernels around the cob, girth) at about v4-v6. That is around shin high. Once this is determined (12-14-16-18), it cannot be changed. So if that corn crop has adequate moisture at that time, the chance of a better yield is much improved. Our chances of rain through June are typically better than through July. Corn ear length is usually determined when corn reaches chest high. A last piece of advice would be to check your soil fertility levels. Potassium is so critical in helping a crop be more water efficient. If you have really low potassium numbers in your soil, then you are setting yourself up for a high risk of being even more severely affected by drought.
Please call us at 814-623-6194 if you have any questions regarding what you can do to improve your crop farming operation. We are here to help you. If you have any questions about top dressing your corn, please talk to us. This has been a part of our business that has grown tremendously. We recently added a fifth machine to the business to be able to serve the growing amount of acreage that need to be serviced with dry fertilizer.
—Albert McIntier, CCA, Agronomy & Retail Manager