(Posted Wed. Sep 3rd, 2014)
The corn crop condition improved again by slight margins according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Report released late yesterday. With 74 percent of the crop rated good or excellent (as of August 31), corn maturation remains only slightly behind-pace overall while quality continues to far surpass that seen in 2013, when only 53 percent remained in good-to-excellent condition at this time.
“As harvest draws closer, the crop quality reports remain impressively strong,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre, a farmer in Illinois. “Yet, corn farmers continue to see a decline in the price that will be paid for their potentially record crop. For some, current market conditions could result in prices possibly below that of production. We have done the work in the fields; we must now do work to build markets. We must speak up and make sure that the government does not take any action on our behalf to further jeopardize our markets or increase our cost of production.”
Crop quality reports increased only slightly, with corn rated excellent adding one point and corn rated fair dropping one over the past week.
The crop progress report also tracks the stages of corn crop growth, with 90 percent in the dough stage and 53 percent dented, compared to a five-year average of 89 and 59 percent, respectively.
An On-farm Assessment from Nebraska
The National Corn Growers Association now offers its fourth 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 caught up with Andy Jobman, an agronomist and farmer in Nebraska. Jobman, who grows corn under a contract with Frito Lay, said that the corn on his farm is entering the final stage of maturity.
“Right now, our corn is anywhere from the beginning of the dent stage to past the end of dent stage,” said Jobman. “During dent stage, the kernels actually do form a dent on their tips. It is a sign of maturity. We are getting close to the end of our growth pattern. The kernels are changing their composition from a juicy, plump stage to one where they are more compact and starchy.”
From this stage, he notes that they are normally a month or so away from harvest.
To listen to the full interview with Jobman, including his discussion of the nuances involved in growing corn for food production, 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.