USDA dropped the corn estimate about 2.5 bushels per acre from August to September. Arlan Suderman, Farm Progress trade analyst, expects USDA to drop it again in the October report. It's a common practice to overestimate production in years with hot, dry summers. This one was hot nearly everywhere. How dry it was depends upon where you live and when you were able to plant the crop.
Suderman has been out front talking about how hot nights may have taken the top end off of corn yields. Yields are coming in from 110 to 200 bushels per acre, with most below 200 bushels per acre. The low yields seem to be form areas which were also hit with excess water damage from torrential rains in June that caused flooding ponding, and actually killed corn. The unusually sight of dead corn from flooding instead of just stunted corn could also be linked to hot, scalding conditions while the water was in the field and covering the bottom of corn plants.
What is impossible to know is whether the corn at 180 would have been 190 or 200 in a different season without heat. A look back at last year with many, many fields above 200 bushels per acre indicates that might be the case. However, it may also be too early to tell.
Suderman argues that when the temperatures remain higher than normal at night, corn keeps respiring, and spends energy on that process, rather than putting it toward developing and filling kernels. The heat also speeds maturation of the plant. Shorter grain fill is often associated with less than ideal yield.
Now comes word from insiders in the southeast U.S. that it's not a bang-up year for peanut growers either. Apparently that crop is also very sensitive to weather especially temperature. It doesn't like too many hot days, and too high of temperatures at night, any more than corn. The problem with peanuts is the actual production is below ground, so it's hard to tell exactly what's happening during the season.
Reportedly, the count for days at 95 degrees or higher is over 40 for the year in southern Georgia. Even for that part of the county, that's a very high number, far too many for optimum peanut production, inside4rs say.
Because of the nature of the crop, variation in temperatures and rainfall have actually caused some fields to grow, produce, go dormant then produce again. The results are plants within the row or even within the same plant where some peanuts are ready and some are still developing. The best alternative growers have is to wait as long as they can before the more mature peanuts begin to decay, then harvest.
And you think it was tough here! At least you can see what an ear of corn is doing!