I believe that fall fieldwork is over for the time being. Our air temperatures got down to 9 degrees on November 12. There was some fieldwork on November 11. That fieldwork included fall ammonia application and tillage on corn stalk fields.
It seems that winter has arrived a little early. There has been snow in the air the past three days. The frost in the soil is down to about three inches.
Our growing season – for much of my area – was marked by some really heavy rainfall amounts in June. Much of that excess rainfall was received on June 14 to June 17. There are official rainfall amounts of 12 to 14 inches for the month of June. Emmetsburg, for example, was listed as 16.3 inches for the month of June.
The excess rainfall in June caused a lot of problems. One problem was the obvious loss of nitrogen from the soil profile. Farmers that were able to apply extra N in late June were rewarded for their efforts. However, that excess rainfall also reduced corn yield potential by reducing root growth and limiting leaf growth. It was very common to see corn plants at harvest that were only 4-5 foot tall in those poorly drained areas.
Our rainfall was moderate for July. There was also an area that developed some dry conditions. That dry area was in parts of Dickinson, Emmet, Kossuth and Winnebago counties.
Of course everybody wants to know what the yields are. It is also quite difficult to generalize. However, one generalization that can be made is that many farmers are disappointed in their final corn and soybean yields.
It is very common to hear a farmer say that yield levels ranged from 110 bu/a to 190 bu/a on corn. That same farmer will discuss 35 to 55 bu/a soybean yields. Also – there has been very little discussion on really high corn yields. There was some thought we would see some 220+ bu/a yields in some areas – but for the most part that did not happen.
Some of the factors that limited yields this year:
- excess June moisture/poor drainage.
- dry conditions in some areas late season.
- widespread- but not real severe – Sudden Death Syndrome in soybean.
- Goss’s wilt and Northern corn leaf blight in some corn hybrids.
- frost on September 13 and 17.
Some factors that did not develop this year were:
- very little damage from corn rootworm.
- soybean aphids were present but not real severe.
We are also very thankful for good harvest weather. The outlook was pretty gloomy in early October. However, harvest weather turned around after that – and conditions were very favorable from October 5 to about November 11. Much of my area missed the widespread rain that occurred on October 13-14.
We also witnessed some good corn grain dry down – as corn grain moisture declined from the high 20s in early October to the upper teens by late October.