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Growing point moves above ground in Crop Watch '15 field

Growing point moves above ground in Crop Watch '15 field
Crop Watch 2015: Quick progress and ideal conditions mark early part of season.

If you use the leaf collar method to judge maturity of corn, most corn plants in the Crop Watch '15 field are at V6, pushing hard at V7, at the midway point in June. So far rainfall has been adequate but not excessive, enough heat has come to spur growth, and all systems are go for high yield.

Crop Watch 6/12: Count the ways you could lose precious nitrogen

Lest you forget how quick that can turn around, remember 2012. At this same juncture, corn was a couple stages more advanced, there was still moisture, and the crop looked good. In 2012 the Crop Watch plot was on a field with various soils, some being heavy but some with gravel underneath.

Crop Watch 2015: Quick progress and ideal conditions mark early part of season.

Dave Nanda, consultant for Seed Consultants, Inc., noted at this juncture in 2012 that there was at least 200 bushels per acre potential in the field.

You know what happened next. The rain gauge dried out and the thermometer literally soared, day after day. The first week of July dealt a death knell blow, with temperature topping 106 F on a Saturday afternoon. In three weeks, the potential went form 200 bushels per acre to survival mode. The final yield was about 55 bushels per acre, but only because a third of the field was in a dark, wet soil that still made over 100 bushels per acre. There were spots within the field that literally yielded zero.

I personally walked 150 feet in one spot doing yield checks without finding a single ear, not even a nubbin. The combination of heat and drought was more than even today's genetics could handle when the soils didn't hold enough moisture to even allow corn to survive.

All systems go: This corn field is off and running at the mid-June mark. The stand is there, the soil fertility is present, it's free of weeds, insects and diseases. From here on out the weather will play a big role in the outcome.

So should we show a picture of the pineapple fields of 2012, and remind you what could happen, or the field we just visited, full of potential? We'll go with today's field. The soil types are loams to clay loams with no gravel base, so even if conditions turn sour, it's likely the corn should fare better than in 2012.

And there is no one so far talking about anything like 2012. Most of the Corn Belt has equal chances for below normal, normal and above normal temperatures and rainfall. If you want to say that's normal, that's up to you. Define it as you like.

Crop Watch 6/5: In what growth stage is this corn seedling?

The report from here is so far, so good. In fact, it was difficult to even find anything at all out of the ordinary to write about. With a few exceptions, the field is uniform and growing.

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