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Hot week for crops around the country

Farmers Kelly Garrett, Matt Miles, and Kevin Matthews of Xtreme Ag report on their crops’ progress in Iowa, Arkansas, and North Carolina, respectively. Xtreme Ag is led by six producers who’ve come together from across the country to share what they’ve learned with other farmers.

Temperatures reached 90°F. or higher in many corn growing states last week. A week ago, USDA’s Crop Progress Report indicated 69% of U.S. corn was in good to excellent condition. Soybeans were also 69% good to excellent last Monday.

Kelly Garrett - Arion, Iowa

Farmer Kelly Garrett of Xtreme Ag
Photo credit: Xtreme Ag
 A 5th generation farmer, Kelly Garrett farms corn, soybeans, and winter wheat in western Iowa.

The farm has been sprayed for Japanese beetles and thistle caterpillars once, but we feel like we will need to spray one or two of the fields again on the end rows. Overall, corn and soybeans look terrific. 

We feel as though we’ve hit our yield ceiling with soybeans. To break this ceiling, we have implemented five foliar test plots, using products from Loveland, Teva, Hefty, Nachurs, and Concept Ag. The picture shown of the two soybean plants is from one of the tests. Plant to the left is treated; the one on the right is the untreated control. We are interested to see how the results of the plots pan out in terms of yield and cost per acre. At this point we have been very impressed with what we are seeing. Our XtremeAg members will be seeing all the details and results of the tests. 

Corn is looking great and the tissue samples are looking consistently strong. Our phosphorous levels are very high and the nitrogen levels are in the right range. We applied a biological a few weeks ago to help release some of the nitrogen that was getting tied up.

We have been blessed to be in the small pocket of Iowa that has experienced decent rainfall. The temperatures have been ranging in the mid 80s to low 90s as wheat harvest was wrapped up this past week.

Matt Miles - McGehee, Arkansas

Farmer Matt Miles of Xtreme Ag
Photo credit: Xtreme Ag
Matt Miles is a 4th generation farmer in southeast Arkansas and grows corn, soybeans, rice, and cotton.

The rice crop is looking really good right now. We are at boot stage, which is just before heading. Rice is about a month late due to a wet spring, but it looks stout.

We just applied our fungicide along with an application of total 10 foliar and some Foliar Rx. These are ConceptAg products we have found that work very well on rice. We are keeping it flooded and waiting on harvest. The extreme heat we are having now is a little concerning as we head into flowering.

We have been experiencing 100°F. to 115°F. heat indexes the last couple weeks with no end in sight.

The cotton crop looks promising as well. We are currently at five nodes above white flower with a 90+% fruit retention. We have noticed awesome retention on the second and third positions in the middle of the plant. Our consultant says it’s some of the best he has seen in a while. This is a critical time for cotton, when it’s in mid-bloom. Currently, we are fighting off plant bugs and worms. Keeping a close eye on tissue samples to monitor the potassium needs as cotton, like other crops, will nosedive on potassium levels from here on out.

We have some corn we have terminated the irrigation on due to black layer. Next week we will pull cob samples to check moisture and should go into harvest around the second week of August. Early corn looks fair. Midplanting looks good, and the jury is still out on the late planted corn.

Kevin Matthews - East Bend, North Carolina

Farmer Kevin Matthews of Xtreme Ag
Photo credit: Xtreme Ag
Kevin and his wife, Cindy, own and operate Matthews Family Farms of North Carolina, Inc., Precision Nutrient Management, Inc., and Deep Creek Grain, Inc. in East Bend and Yadkinville.

Our upland corn is starting to tassel. We’ve found some gray leaf spot, and we are applying a fungicide in the next few days.

We’ve been running nitrogen through our Netafim subsurface drip irrigation system on soybeans and corn. The tissue samples are looking strong. It is critical for us to pull tissue samples at the same time of day each week, in order to eliminate any differences in samples due to variations in the time of day each was pulled.

The past week we had pop-up storms that brought much needed rain. Overall, the crops are showing little stress despite the heat index being over 100°F. This can be attributed to our low planting population and cool nighttime temperatures. Using a lower plant population is not a common practice in our area, but it is something we have pushed in our operation. It helps us better manage the plant and deliver the right nutrients to all the plants during the critical growth stages.

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XtremeAg.farm is a team of the nation’s top producers who have come together to share their experience, expertise, knowledge and farming practices with other farmers. Members get access to exclusive content from the team as well as one-on-one support for their own farming operation. Visit www.XtremeAg.farm for more information.

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