Warm temperatures helping corn crops to catch up
The cold, wet spring weather had caused corn crops to be several weeks behind schedule, but with the warmer July temperatures, the crops are starting to catch up.
Jerry Clark, Agriculture Agent at UW-Extension, estimates the crops are now just about a week to ten days behind schedule.
“We are starting to see the growth of the corn more normal for this time of year,” Clark says.
Clark says farmers typically plant corn in the beginning of May but the weather caused a delay in planting.
“Even what got planted late is starting to grow relatively quickly but now we have a shorter growing season,” Clark says.
Clark says while the weather is now helping crops to catch up, the final yield is still reliant on whether the first frost comes sooner rather than later.
“Because we were so delayed in planting that corn crop, we are going to need an extended fall for that corn crop to reach that maturity,” Clark says. “We are hoping that growing season can end into October or as late as possible because if it comes early, a lot of corn isn't fully mature or the kernels don't get to fill with as much starch and get that full potential for grain.”
The shorter growing season may also impact consumers who buy products with corn as an ingredient, like cereal.
“If there is less corn on the market we usually see a reflection in the higher prices,” Clark says.
Clark says some farmers resorted to planting corn for feed rather than grain since it is more likely to thrive with a shorter growing season
“We had a lot of dairy and livestock producers plant corn for corn silage and of course we can harvest that at higher moisture so there is a little more forgiveness there,” Clark says.
However, he is still hopeful that the corn can reach its full yield.
“If we catch up on that we will see the progression of the corn be a little more normal at the end of the growing season,” Clark says. “But it is going to matter what this fall brings and when that frost hits.”