Tennessee corn growers are in the process of harvesting a bumper crop.
“We had some issues, like everyone else, with it being a little wet in the spring,” says Angela Thompson McClure, University of Tennessee corn specialist. “Some of our growers got their corn in early and others had to work around the weather in April a bit.
“Overall, though, we were very fortunate as to the amount of rain this season. I haven’t heard from anyone who got too dry. If anything they got a little too wet in some scattered places. In those spots, the rain may have taken out some of the nitrogen and led to yields that weren’t quite at the level hoped for. But everyone seems to be satisfied. The USDA’s projected yield for Tennessee would be a record for the state.”
The growing season
Put “mostly timely” rains alongside milder temperatures and that makes for some happy growers, says McClure. “The folks talking about yields have been really tickled. There have been at least several NCGA entries. Anytime our dryland corn is over 200 bushels is a great year.”
What about insects? Disease?
Because it was a wetter year, “we saw a few more problems pop up. We saw northern corn leaf blight. We see a little bit of grey leafspot every year.
“Southern, common rust showed up early for us in July. We thought that might turn into a big problem and it turned out to be only a spot issue. It never showed up in as widespread an area as it could have.”
Were there any major problems with the last round of hurricane-fueled rains?
“In western Tennessee everyone got about the same amount of moisture during the last major rains. We were fortunate in not having any crazy winds from Irma, although there was plenty of rain. Post-Harvey, we had some wind that leaned some soybeans over. But we’ve dried out and are trying to get the harvest rolling again.
“We have chances for more showers (the week of September 18) and most folks are hoping we miss them. There’s still corn to be harvested – we’re probably 50 percent, maybe a little more, done. Plus, we have to get the soybeans dried down, as well. We just need a decent stretch of dry weather.”