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Crop Tech Tour: Late spring crop progress & concerns

'A real head scratcher'

Another spring, another unique set of crop conditions around the Midwest and South, according to Crop Tech Tour CCA correspondents. In some areas, conditions have been better than they have in years, while in other parts of the country, many challenges lie ahead for this "head scratcher" of a year so far.

Weed pressures


Ed Winkle, farmer and certified crop advisor (CCA) with HyMarkConsulting LLC in Martinsville, Ohio, says Mother Nature has made things a tough go for his area's farmers. Cool temps and excess moisture have made nutrient and chemical applications vary widely in their efficacy.

High waters


"A typical comment across the Midwest is 'I never saw water there before or I never saw water that high at that place,'" says Winkle. That kind of moisture has caused a lot of variability in crop progress in his area, with some corn fields just emerged and others already with 10-leaf plants. Heavy rains throughout the spring have caused a lot of nitrogen inconsistencies in fields in his area, Winkle adds.

Wheat worries


The opposite end of the spectrum's caused damage to the wheat crop in Winkle's area of Ohio. Heat, disease pressures and a recent outbreak of cereal leaf beetle has challenged the area's crop. "The weather and $4 wheat didn't offer much opportunity to correct the problems," Winkle says.

Better beans


LibertyLink soybeans have performed well early in the season for Winkle, he says. "Most soybeans have just emerged or have just been planted," he says. Further south, Bryan Mainord with MRM Ag Services in East Prairie, Missouri, says 80% of the beans are planted in his area as soil conditions improve with dry weather. Even further south, Kosciusko, Mississipp-based CCA with Mississippi State University Extension, Ernie Flint, says most beans are at the R1 to R2 development stage.

'Near perfect spring'


Eric Birschbach of Ag Site Crop Consulting, LLC, in Verona, Wisconsin, says the beans are at about the same phase in his area. "We've had a near perfect spring season here in southern Wisconsin," he says. Along with some variable populations in many area fields, there could be a lot of weed and pressures coming on soon.

Soybean pests to watch


"With the good growing conditions, the winged soybean aphids are sampling fields for colonization. Common lambsquarters escapes are present in some no-till fields and may become a problem late season," Birschbach says. "Soybean populations are extremely variable this year with stands ranging from 70,000 to 200,000+ emerged plants/acre depending on when the fields were planted. This will have an impact on late season weed management strategies."

Corn stand concerns


The cool, damp weather that's been tough on his area's soybeans has also caused problems for corn, says Winkle. That's mainly coming in spotty stands because of inconsistent nutrient applications. "No matter how you got your N down here, we have yellow striped corn everywhere," he says. "Many early fields are stunted and some of the later plantings will beat them."



Still, Winkle admits the corn crop in his area is still in good shape. Birschbach adds the corn is near the V6 stage in his area of Wisconsin, allowing farmers to get nitrogen sidedressing and post-emerge herbicide applications taken care of, tasks that Mainord says are complete in his area. "Corn is coming along well; it's all sidedressed, and with the warm weather we have had quite a bit shoot tassels in the last week," he says.

Optimism down South


Flint says the corn crop in his area of Mississippi is "the best looking corn crop I can hopes for this one are very high." He says soil moisture levels are generally good for this time of year and many fields are pollinating. "We have a long way to go to mature the big yield this crop is capable of producing; and conditions must remain good for that to happen," he says. "For now, better keep estimates on the conservative side."

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