Last year on my June 7th post I covered that we needed to watch the drought monitor and as we all know the conditions declined all year. This year for the June 15th post my call is to watch for harvested ears per acre.
Farmers were giving all they had to meet the goal of 97.3 million acres of corn plantings. We will fall short of that goal but more important is the fact that many of those acres already planted were under stress from the beginning. I saw many fields that on a normal year would have been tilled and replanted. That was impossible this year. Wet conditions kept the farmer's equipment idle and when a few days opened up he had the choice to plant fields that were not planted yet or start replanting damaged fields. Of course he would chose to plant in a bare field before destroying a field with something. These damaged fields range from large ponds of water, compaction from driving rain stopping corn emergence, and reduction from late planting dates. Large ponds of water- if you lose 20 acres in a 120 acre field you get a 16% reduction in plants, or ears per acre as each plant should have an ear. Compaction from rain- compaction or crusting in the topsoil reduced emergence of plants, again less plants = less ears and this is widely variable through out the western and central corn belt but much greater than normal. Late planting - increases the risk of insect damage and temperatures damaging the silk not allowing pollination to form a viable ear.
Watch for July reports beginning to show impacts of these but most will not be known until ear counts begin to show up on August surveys, and even then those counts will be on more immature ears than normal leaving some yield dependent on a late frost allowing for maturity to fill each kernel of corn or not.
Again My farm has been extremely fortunate My drive through Iowa to Kansas City and back through Missouri and central Illinois showed that the best crops so far are in Lasalle and Dekalb counties in Illinois.
I did get some light hail damage. Note the holes mid leaf.