As this article is being penned, almost the entire state of North Dakota has had a needed rain event in the overnight and morning hours from a large weather system. This rain is being celebrated as a crop saving rain for many of our warm season crop species in ND, while it is likely too late for other crops, especially the cool season grasses.
We are now in the serious crop growing months of June, July and August. We NEED weather to cooperate with the row crops of corn and soybeans out there, and let’s not forget about the edible beans and sunflowers too since for the last few years row crops has been where the profit is on the farm.
As of this writing we are two thirds of the way through the month of May and we can call the corn planting basically done! What a blessing. Of course there is the scattered low lying field or area in the state where planting is late or lagging, but being this far ahead or done before Memorial Day has been a pleasant surprise. The question is: “how did this happen?”
At the end of April now as we stare at the radar and thermometer in hopes of some warm, dry weather for a few fleeting hours of fieldwork … we hear of significant rains the last week of April and early May for the major corn producing states from Nebraska eastward between I-70 north to I-90 and 94 all the way to Pennsylvania!
I mentioned last week that the second aspect of the fertility regimen corn farmers are face with that I wanted to discuss before plant 2017 really commenced was starter fertility. There is no quicker way to get a room full of corn producers active in conversation than to bring up the topic of starter fertility in corn. It is a widely-accepted and used production practice in the northern corn belt as a tool to manage planting corn early, or in cool and wet soil conditions as so often happens here in the North.
As plant 2017 is nearing some parts of North Dakota, I am continuing to cover some pre-plant decisions that are being made. For at least the next two articles I want to discuss fertility. There is quite a lot to maintaining proper fertility for corn as the crop is a high user of many nutrients, so I will not be discussing all pertinent nutrients or aspects of the nutrients discussed. This week I want to focus on the nutrient we hear and talk most about in corn – Nitrogen (N).
What is the earliest and latest you have ever planted corn on your farm, or that producers that you work with have planted? I encourage you to think about this as plant 2017 nears. Planting dates in corn production are critical for reaching maximum yield and optimum harvest moisture of a corn crop. Given that corn is a heat and growing degree day driven crop, it makes sense that planting date can have such an impact on yield and moisture. I want to cover a few things relating to planting date as field season nears.
Choosing the correct corn hybrid(s) for your farm is the easiest way to gain (or lose) bushels, given you have already optimized most other management practices. In a North Dakota hybrid trial data set from NDSU, there was as much as 88 bushels per acre difference between the top and bottom yielding adapted hybrids at a location, and all hybrids entered were available for seed in that or the following year. If you do the quick math in your head you can quickly see how much choosing the right hybrid impacts profitability at the farm level. (more…)
There is cause for excitement when talking about corn today in North Dakota. We are experiencing what will likely be a state record yield by several bushels per acre, with generally great harvest conditions. In the week ending October 23, 2016, according to USDA crop progress data, we are 39% harvested with corn in North Dakota, behind last year’s pace by 17%. This is very nice progress, however, there are a few issues that have become prominent in the past week that I want to address, namely corn drydown and storage issues.