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High heat brings increased crop stress around the country

Above normal temperatures have Kelly Garrett, Matt Miles, and Kevin Matthews doing everything they can do reduce crop stress and preserve yields.


A fifth-generation farmer, Kelly Garrett farms corn, soybeans, and winter wheat in western Iowa.

It’s been very hot. Upwards of 8° to 10° F. above our normal temperatures this time of year. Luckily, we have received timely rains up to this point, so everything still looks healthy. The real test will be over the next week. We are expecting temperatures to reach the low 90’s.

Map of Iowa temperatures
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

The only spots that look a little rough are where we had excessive winds this spring that blew a lot of our residue into one area of our field. The winds came out of the southwest and blew a lot of our residue to the northeast-facing sidehills. As a result, some of our stands in those areas are a bit less desirable due to the heavy residue that the crop has had to break through. I believe the corn will be fine, but it is noticeably behind the other areas right now.

Kelly Garrett's corn field in June 2022
Photo credit: XtremeAg

I began this season by saying that I was going to be focusing on two main areas. The first was finding a product that would help us break down the heavy no-till residue that is left in the field each fall. We are still experimenting with a few products including Residue RX from Concept Agritek and Agricen’s Extract to determine which one is the best fit for our no-till environment.
My second focus this season is doing everything possible to keep stress off the crop. We have been experimenting with a PGR-based product called Shield X that promises to protect the crop from stress events if applied beforehand. Matt Miles has had a lot of success with it in his southeast Arkansas heat and we are hoping that it will perform for us as we enter the hotter part of the growing season in western Iowa.

Rows of corn on an Iowa farm
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We are also conducting a trial with Netafim, NutraDrip, Agricen, and Iowa State University to determine if we can mitigate stress at the root level by running products through our drip system.


Matt Miles is a fourth-generation farmer in southeast Arkansas who grows corn, soybeans, rice, and cotton.

You have heard the saying “never let them see you sweat." Well, for the last week and at least the next 15 days, the temperatures in the Delta are staying in the mid- to upper 90's with 90% humidity. The only way to not sweat here now is to be in an air-conditioned building. Unfortunately, our corn must stay outside and battle the heat. We are currently pollinating our corn and setting pods on beans. This heat could potentially cost us some serious yield. We have applied stress mitigators to the crop and will see if we can keep the crop from going into defensive mode as it is blasted with a heat index in the 110° to 115° F. range.

Green corn irrigated in Arkansas
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We are currently at R1/R2 on corn and R4/R5 on beans and haven’t had to trigger a full irrigation cycle until this past weekend when we cranked the wells wide open on all our fields. We have saved some money on diesel by not irrigating as much up to this point in the season. 

We think we will have one of the best crops we have grown this year. Of course, that'll depend on how the crop responds to this heat while in the reproductive stages. No rain and no break coming in the heat for the next 15 days.

Green soybeans growing in Arkansas
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We just finished up our personal best wheat crop and were able to have moisture to plant beans behind it. This is not normally the case when we double crop. We normally have to “water” the beans up. Monday the last of them were too wet to plant and today we had to go a little deeper than 2 inches to get them planted in the moisture. On these thin soils, we are always 2 weeks from a drought no matter how much rain we have had.


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.

We are wrapping up our wheat harvest today. We’ve had a great wheat crop and I’m excited to see how we come out on the XtremeAg Wheat Wager competition we have going. We had some afternoon thunderstorms that delayed the combines by a few days. The rains have been a blessing for sure with our dry and hot conditions. Temperatures have been in the upper 90s every day last week and are supposed to stay in the 90s through the week.

John Deere combine harvests wheat in North Carolina
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We will be finishing up our double-crop beans this week if we can hold moisture in the wheat straw. We are running full force dropping nitrogen on our corn. So far, everything looks great. We just need to keep getting regular rain showers to get the crop through the heat.

A man in a gray t-shirt stands in a North Carolina wheat field
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We are in the office this week focusing on preparing crop reports to ensure everything is completed before the reporting deadline. Getting the paperwork finished is just as important as planting the crops.

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