Drought stress causing problems for late-planted corn fields

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Even though the 2019 crop season started out rough with excessive spring rainfall and flooding, Hoosier farmers now are facing another crop problem – drought conditions.

“The season just seems to keep getting worse,” said Bob Nielsen, a professor of agronomy at Purdue University.

Nielsen said that a wide area of the state, especially in southern Indiana, has been mostly dry for several weeks, and some parts of the state have been dry for the past three months.

Nielsen said normally days where temperatures are 92 degrees are good for helping crops grow faster, but the bad news right now is that the extremely dry soil and hot weather mix is causing stress to corn plants.

“It’s hard to predict what the heat and dry soils will have on the crops,” Nielsen said, adding that the yield potential in the late-planted fields probably will be decreased.

Nielsen said that anywhere in the state where there is a combination of excessive heat and dry soil conditions, corn and soybeans are going to be under stress as they try to reach maturity.

“Up north where there has been quite a bit of rain, the high heat is helping to mature the crop,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen said farmers need to be scouting their fields watching for premature plant stress and keeping a close eye on the crop’s development.

Ashley Langreck can be reached at 800-426-9438, ext. 192, or alangreck@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Langreck.


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