(Posted Fri. Jun 21st, 2013)
June 21: The National Corn Growers Association has launched its third season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.
Today, Field Notes checks in with three farmers to find out how about the condition of the corn crop in a variety of areas. While they all experienced cool, wet conditions this spring during planting season, changing conditions in their respective areas have led to a diversity of opinion on how their harvests might be this year.
For Jennie Schmidt, who farms in Maryland, the possibility of slow growth and a growing season which could be cut short by weather unique to her coastal area lead not only to concern but also to action.
“In the last ten days, I have had eleven inches of rain. So, things are slow, and things are wet,” Schmidt explained. “The cool, wet weather the past few weeks has slowed growth. This is a hard year to really call. We have to consider the possibility of hurricanes in the fall here. Two years ago, a hurricane flattened late corn in the field. It is worrisome, but we plan to improve the corn’s standability through an aerial fungicide application. Hopefully, should the worst happen, this will give the crop a better chance of surviving the storm.”
To listen to the full interview with Schmidt, click here.
In Missouri, Rob Korff is also dealing with wet weather that has flooded areas of his farm, necessitating replanting in parts. While the Missourian does not face hurricanes in the fall, he has serious concerns that this summer’s overabundance of moisture will take a heavier toll on his crop than last summer’s drought.
“This look pretty poor in my location,” said Korff. “We have had several rounds of heavy rain and, while some of the corn looks respectable, there are a lot of flooded out spots that need to be replanted. We still have soybeans to plant first though, and the calendar is getting late. It has been a really frustrating spring here in Missouri.”
To listen to the full interview with Korff, click here.
Indiana farmer Brian Scott may have a few areas damaged by rain, but the majority of his corn crop appears to be in excellent condition at this point. Should good weather hold, he hopes to have a plentiful, quality crop at harvest this year.
“Some of the crop got too much rain, slowing growth and making it harder for the roots to find the nitrogen that the plant needs,” explained Scott. “Those plants have turned yellow, but most of the crop has found that nitrogen, grown and turned a lush green. Now that almost all of the plants have spread their leaves, they form a canopy that shades out weeds. So, it’s looking pretty good overall.”
To listen to the full interview with Scott, click here.
Stay tuned over the coming weeks as Field Notes follows the growers who have opened their farms, families and communities up this year and meet the true faces of modern American agriculture.