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Corn crop reaches critical point in growing season

Kyle Stackhouse Aerial plane application of fungicide over farm field of corn.
Crop dusting at this key growth stage makes a big difference in yield outcome.

When I enrolled at Purdue University, I looked at two schools on the south side of State Street. One was Ag & Biological Engineering, the other was Aviation. In the end I choose Ag Engineering. This time of year, I’m reminded I could have been the one dodging electric poles, trees, and houses while crop dusting the fields.

Corn pollination is pretty much complete, only later plant fields are still shedding pollen. Granted we are still a couple of months from harvest, but right now is when the plants are using the most water and nutrients to push matter into developing ears. Right now is when we want the plant as healthy and happy as possible. Right now is when we want sunshine with abundant rains. Simply put, right now is when the crop is being made.

It has been frustrating getting our fields dusted this year. The pilot we have used for years parked his plane in a woods in June. He survived, but can’t find a plane to fly. They were supposed to get a plane and some help, but apparently that has not happened. As a result we have tried a couple different companies. They have been okay, but we haven’t been hitting the growth stage timing we feel is important for the plant to receive nutrients we include with the fungicide and insecticide. In the end it may not matter, but when you know what works, you want to stick with it.

Soybeans are progressing quickly. It has taken a month for the most water logged areas of the fields (that didn’t flood out) to return to normal color after the late June rains that deluged us. It is hard telling what the bean crop will produce, but August is always the most important month for soybeans in our area. Since I’ve been gone so much in July, I am still pushing to get the final herbicide application and plant health application done on soybeans. I hope to wrap that up in the next few days.

Dad has been keeping trucks full of corn and headed to the elevator. After a disappointing rain Thursday, we both are working to fire up irrigation.

TAGS: Crops Corn
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