Observations from my weekly crop scouting are showing a mixed bag of findings. Mid-May corn is still looking good with good pollination and low disease pressure. Corn that had fungicide is looking the best. Other fields that did not have fungicide are showing more instances of anthracnose and other issues that appear to be Gibberella.

Late-May corn has problems with tip-back pollination of about a 2-inch tip-back, which could mean a 20- to 30-bushel decrease in yields. It also is showing that anthracnose is present. Early-June corn is at the end of pollination, and at this point it showing better pollination than the late-May corn, which is unusual. Leaf disease in all groups of corn has been minimal, showing only light infestations of leaf rust, gray leaf and some northern leaf blight.

Soybeans are another story in itself. Early on, soybeans had wet feet, which they don’t like. They have had a disadvantage with the use of certain residual herbicides combined with the wet feet. They have been slow to grow because of this and, combined with the cooler-than-normal temperatures, are behind. Insect feeding in soybeans has been minimal, but there has been some activity. Disease pressure has been minimal with a little frogeye, downy mildew and low instance of brown spot.

I had the opportunity to attend the University of Illinois Agronomy Day, where one of the leading researchers commented on soybeans’ slow progress of development at this point. The fear is that with the late planting and the lack of heat units and the potential of early frost, there may be a shortfall in the soybean crop, but time will tell with how the weather performs from here until harvest.