Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Too cold for corn

The corn in our area can't grow properly. It has been too cold and plenty wet enough.

My picture today shows about my best corn yield for a farm average at one location. I don't think we are going to see this right year.

Right now I am just concerned in paying the bills.

"The optimum planting date varies by latitude in the United States. The majority of corn is grown in the Corn Belt and optimal planting ranges from April 15 in the southern Corn Belt to May 7 in the north. Planting dates are much earlier further south. Soil conditions with temperatures near 50°F are ideal for seed germination. Be aware of frost free dates in your region. Check with your insurance company to ensure that you have coverage when planting early.

Field corn can be planted too early. Imbibitional chilling, sub-lethal chilling, and frost can be problems when corn is planted too early. In general, research has shown that frost does not cause significant yield impacts even when leaf tissue is killed by frost two times or more. Less information is available regarding imbibitional chilling and sub-lethal chilling, but stand reductions have been observed with imbibitional chilling. Another issue is development of disease pathogens. Corn usually evades pathogens by growing and developing faster than the pathogen. Growth of corn is relatively slow at cool temperatures, while pathogen disease growth and development can be relatively greater and overcome the corn seedling."

This describes what we are seeing. The ideal planting date wasn't ideal this year.

I am not sure Memorial Day will be, only two weeks away!

Global warming has sure created controversy and misunderstanding.

""Global warming is raising temperatures in Wisconsin and across the nation. Global warming will mean lower yields for corn, and eventually the rest of agriculture," says Dan Kohler of Wisconsin Environment in an interview with the Wisconsin Radio Network.

Corn's ideal temperature range for maximum yield is about 64 - 72F. Above that range, higher temperature shortens the reproductive life-cycle of the plants, giving the grain less time to grow and decreasing yield.

A study by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Carnegie Institution found that climate changes since 1981 have already cost corn producers world-wide about 1.2 billion a year.

You can read the report titled "Hotter Fields, Lower Yields" right here.


Not so fast, according to Dr. Matt Roberts, an associate professor in the department of Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics at Ohio State University.

Roberts disagrees with the study and says the study ignores the factor of supply and demand.

Roberts also says that corn yields have been increasing, not decreasing as the study says.

You can read more about Roberts response to the Wisconsin Radio Network right here.

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