Written By Carrie Davenport
As some say, “August rain makes grain” and in North Grey we sure got a lot during the month of August.
Generally, the stars have aligned for fall in this area. We have been catching well above average soybean and corn yields, early planted wheat has established well, and market prices have been rewarding. Majority of growers have completed soybean harvest and are in the thick of taking off grain corn. In saying this though, there were pockets of Grey that had caught a hard frost in early September. Some may have had to manage through corn silage drying down rapidly, lighter test weight grain and compromised corn stalks. If your crop received a killing frost (nighttime temperatures of -2) and had not yet reached black layer, the crop is forced to create one prematurely, no longer allowing the kernel to change the remaining milk into starch. Starch is generating test weight for the kernel, thus being sacrificed in this scenario. The level of potential loss can vary based on severity of frost damage and crop stage. When there was an initial frost in Grey, the crop was sitting around R5-R5.25. You will see the percentage of potential loss in the chart below:
In combination with an early frost, varying wet weather from August until now, and recent windstorms, there is higher potential for stalk integrity to be compromised this fall. With fluctuating weather patterns, I suggest those that have corn out to test stalk strength and prioritize fields for harvest. To give a good indication of stalk strength, go to four areas of the field and test 20 consecutive stalks with the pinch or push test. If the lower two internodes can be pinched together or you are able to push the plant a foot away from you and it buckles, these are considered a fail. Give the field a percentage affected and prioritize accordingly.
Without looking back on fields notes from this season, it’s hard to remember that some of us had crop just in the ground before a layer of snow was sitting on top of it in May. Overall, I am extremely happy with the results we are getting this year and if we were comparing last fall to this one, I think most would be ecstatic.