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Mid-South corn, soybean crops look to be ‘very strong’

The Mid-South corn and soybean crops still have some season left in the 2014 growing season, but both appear to be on target to produce a repeat of the strong yields of recent years.

That’s the view of William Johnson, a former University of Arkansas grain specialist who now covers the Mid-South states for DuPont Pioneer. Johnson talked about the prospects for the 2014 grain crops in an interview at Pioneer’s Union City, Tenn., field day.

“The corn crop that I’ve been visiting from north of New Orleans all the way up to this area (northwest Tennessee) is a very strong crop,” he said. “There’s areas where we’ve had a lot of nitrogen loss, and if we have any hiccups from a yield loss standpoint, it’s going to be nitrogen, especially on our clay soils.

“It appears that where we put out a lot of pre-tassel nitrogen applications and had that rate at 250 to 275 units of nitrogen it’s going to be very beneficial,” he noted. “So far we’ve had some storms; we’ve had some corn that brittle-snapped in areas, but overall we’ve survived some very stormy, wet weather so far.”

Some of those storms have been catastrophic – portions of northeast Arkansas received upwards of a foot of rain the last weekend in June. But growers may have caught a break because of planting decisions that occurred in the spring.

“It’s (the excess moisture) not good, but we had a lot of areas that planted soybeans instead of corn as we moved down in the southern Delta,” he said. “Soybeans are a little more tolerant of water than corn is. So with the wet weather when you get south of a line from Pine Bluff (Arkansas) to Cleveland (Mississippi) there are a lot more beans there than historically there have been in the last few years. That was due to all of the rains and the saturated soil conditions.”

Johnson says he has seen “some high-yielding soybean fields, especially the ones that got planted in April. Again, we’re trying to pinpoint a lot of our soybeans to be blooming on the longest day of the year – June 21. And we had a lot of beans in that part of the world that were blooming on the longest day of the year, and that’s when you really make some tremendous yields.”

Johnson was asked if Mid-South growers could be looking at more 100-bushel-plus soybean yields again in 2014?

“If the weather continues like it is, and we keep these cool nights and day-time highs below 95 degrees, I would say this year will be a repeat of last year with even more fields.”

Growers in south Texas have begun harvesting corn, and farmers in Louisiana who have the capability of drying corn could be a week or two away from harvest, said Johnson, who was interviewed on July 30. “In three or four weeks we should be in full swing.”

Johnson’s assessment of the Mid-South crop seemed to echo what agronomists are saying about the corn and soybean crops in other parts of the country. Forecasts of substantially higher yields in 2014 have pressured grain prices. For more on the market outlook, see

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