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Cool weather aids pollination

Cool weather aids pollination
Crop Watch 2015: Below-average to average temperatures good for crop pollination.

One problem many corn fields won't have to deal with this year is whether or not tassel emergence and silk emergence from ear shoots correspond with each other.

Crop Watch 7/27: Nitrogen will be a player in yield determination this year

With plenty of moisture – actually too much in many cases – and relatively cool weather, especially overnight, pollination appears to be going well in fields where corn is tall enough and healthy enough to pollinate.

Crop Watch 2015: Below-average to average temperatures good for crop pollination.

The irony is that in years with rain and cool weather during pollination, yields are typically on the high side. Jim Newman, former Purdue University Extension agronomist, once studied 30 years of data and concluded that in years with ample moisture and cool temperatures, USDA estimates tend to rise from the August estimate through the rest of the marketing year.

Don't expect that this year. Ample moisture quickly becomes excessive moisture, which completely changes the yield picture. In fact, Chris Hurt, Purdue University Extension ag economist, is comparing this year to1993, when the Western Corn Belt was plagues with heavy rains and flooding all year long.

Yields were far below average compared to trend yield in those areas. It drew the entire U.S. average corn yield down significantly. Prices went higher than USDA had anticipated for corn that year, he notes.

With each successive crop market report through the end of the marketing year, he says USDA yield estimates dropped.

Critical time: There are still good fields out there, including the Crop Watch 2015 field. Cool weather during pollinating should favor pollination.

Nevertheless, fields that have enough nitrogen and which began pollinating before mid-July are being blessed with good pollination weather. The farmer who farms the Crop Watch 2015 field puts one hybrid in 12 rows of his planter and another hybrid in the other 12 rows. He wants to see a yield comparison between the two hybrids on a wide scale, and that's one reason for alternating hybrids, he says.

Crop Watch 7/20: Disease works its way up the plant in Crop Watch field

The other reason is to spread pollen shed and time when silks could be receptive. He's looking to reduce risk that tasseling and silking of one hybrid.

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