(Posted Fri. Sep 6th, 2013)
Sept. 6: The National Corn Growers Association is now in 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 Nebraska farmer Andy Jobman to see how major temperature swings in the region have impacted the corn crop.
“For much of the growing season, we had days where there was no direct sunlight until the late afternoon,” said Jobman. “Then, it would disappear in the evening as the clouds gathered and rains came overnight. Many days were just cloudy and cool. The weather concerned us because we worried that the kernels were not building weight and filling with starches and sugars. So, at that critical time, our corn crop didn’t really mature.”
When the cool conditions gave way, Jobman notes how the pendulum swung to the other extreme.
“The last few weeks, we have switched back to some very hot, dry conditions,” he explained. “They are calling it a flash drought. Now, the corn maturity is progressing very rapidly because of the heat stress. We needed sunshine and warmer temperatures but not for them to be this extreme.”
Given the varied conditions, he sees the corn crop doing well at this point, with average to above average yields in his area.
“So far, the corn crop has held together fairly well and, during those cool conditions, it did progress some,” said Jobman. “As an agronomist, the maturation during those conditions does worry me because it is unclear where the energy came from. We weren’t getting it from the sun. Things look good now, but I am concerned about the stalk quality and if we will see standability issues in the fall.”
To listen to the full interview with Jobman, click here.
Stay tuned 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.