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
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.