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August 31, 2011

Dry Weather Ending U.S. Growing Season Prematurely

The weather during the month of August turned out to be very dry in many areas of the Corn Belt and as a result, the dry weather could end the growing season prematurely especially in the dryer areas. Some of the best corn and soybean yields are achieved when the crops can slowly fill the grain or fill the pods in late August and through September. This abrupt end to the growing season is going to negatively impact the crops in numerous ways including:

Corn

  • A shorter than normal grain filling period for corn.
  • Potential for additional kernel abortion on the tip of the ear especially for later planted corn.
  • The maturation process will be accelerated.
  • The kernel depth will be more shallow than normal.
  • There will be lighter ear weights, lighter test weights, and lower yields.
  • The corn will reach harvest maturity earlier than normal and as a result, the corn harvest will start earlier than normal.

Soybeans

  • The late season dryness restricts flowering and pod set at the top of plant.
  • Additional flower and pod abortions can occur especially at the top of the plant.
  • The crop ends up with a fewer number of seeds per pod and smaller seeds.
  • The soybean crop prematurely turns yellow as plants run out of moisture.
  • The soybeans end up with lower yields and the harvest starts earlier than normal.