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Unrelenting heat brings pollination concerns

XtremeAg farmers Kelly Garrett and Kevin Matthews are focusing on keeping disease, heat and dry weather from causing yield loss in the second half of the growing season, while Matt Miles prepares to begin harvest in southeast Arkansas.


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

We are finishing up applying fungicide to our soybean crop this week. We are adding in Intergize, a PGR that promotes pod growth, and a stress mitigation product that we have had success with this year called Shield-X. We are also adding in Cube from Spraytec to help with plant health.

The heat is a big concern right now as our corn is just starting to pollinate. We are adding Intergize and Shield-X with our Veltyma, to help mitigate heat stress during pollination. We have some of the best-looking corn we have had in a long time, but that could all change if the heat continues for a prolonged period. The next few weeks are critical to yield. We are also adding a new product we are trialing this season called Source from SoundAg. The foliar application is supposed to reduce our nitrogen use by promoting more efficient uptake. We are also adding in Haven from Marrone Bio Innovations to regulate plant temperature and topping it all off with a dose of Nachurs K-Flex and Finish Line. 

We believe that in this hot and dry weather, PGR’s and stress mitigators are imperative to keeping the crop on track in the second half of the growing season.

Kelly Garrett combines wheat in Iowa with a John Deere harvester in July
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We also started harvesting our wheat last week.  We will have to wait and see how we finish in the XtremeAg wheat wager contest. 


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

It’s July, so our heat indexes are 100° to 115° F. every day. Unfortunately, we have had high heat indexes since the beginning of June. That is somewhat uncommon for this area. We have seen heat indexes over 100° F. for the last 30 to 40 days with virtually no relief. Although we have had some pretty timely rains, the nighttime temperatures will definitely have an effect on the crop this year. We have all our irrigation wells running at full capacity trying to help regulate the heat. The exciting thing is that despite the heat we have had this summer, our crop doesn’t look bad. One thing I have learned from my XtremeAg buddies and sponsors is that stress mitigators are the real deal. Hopefully they will offset some of the heat issues.  

The lemonade here is that this should be our last irrigation on corn and most of the soybeans as we get ready for harvest. We terminated irrigation on the February planted beans last week and are hoping to desiccate them this week. If we can harvest them in the last week of July, we will have a 2nd crop of 90-day corn ready to be planted immediately behind the combines. This will be a first for us and the stars will need to align. But, with a little luck, we will see if we can get a corn crop established. If it works, it will open a whole new opportunity for us and might just become a regular practice at Miles Farms.


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.

Overall, our crops are looking average or better compared to the last few years. The areas that received rain fall over the past few weeks are looking very good, while those areas that missed rainfall are struggling more. Luckily, the areas where the rain missed were few and far between for us. 

We are continuing to spray fungicide, PGRs and numerous foliar products this week. We have been trialing the Fulltec Adjuvant this season and we have been impressed with the drift reduction we are seeing.  We will look at the tissue samples to see if absorption into the plants has been improved. 

Kevin Matthews loads his sprayer
Photo credit: XtremeAg

It’s important to remember to never cut corners and take plenty of time cleaning the sprayers out. The Pentair Hypro end boom that we have makes flushing the lines a lot quicker, and don’t forget the agitation valves as they trap particulates when partially closed.

Irrigation is not an inexpensive thing, but it is in dry times like these where we really see the ROI of all the work, we do to get our Netafim SDI systems and Valley Pivots ready each spring. Irrigation helps me sleep a lot better at night for sure!

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