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Heat affects crop

July 21, 2011

Auglaize County Farm Service Agency Executive Director Anita Green.

Farmers that faced problems getting their corn crop planted because of frequent rainfall throughout the spring are now facing problems from the opposite end of the spectrum.
Extremely hot temperatures and high humidity for most of the past week are the latest problems facing Auglaize County farmers and their crops. The heat and humidity is expected to continue for the rest of the week. High temperatures are not expected to dip below 90 degrees until Sunday.
“The next two weeks will be critical,” Auglaize County Farm Service Agency Executive Director Anita Green said. “Because of the delayed planting, we had some tender crops going into July. This will cause stress on the plants.”
The local forecast has shown a 40 percent chance of rain Friday and Saturday, with a 60 percent chance on Sunday. Monday and Wednesday show a 30 and 40 percent chance. Temperatures, while still hot, are expected to lighten up some beginning early next week.
The wet weather that caused delayed planting in May and early June now poses the threat of causing stress on corn crops.
Green said farmers have already experienced yield loss on this year’s growing season, but it is too early to tell how much farmers have lost. The viability of the current stand population, or crops that have actually began to grow, will affect those numbers.
“When it is extremely hot and dry as the weather has been, it can be critical,” Green said. “Fortunately, some areas did get a little bit of rain Monday night. We had reports of two-tenths to eight-tenths of an inch. Some local farmers will benefit from that.”
Green said dairy farmers depending on hay and alfalfa also face concerns because of tonnage being down.
Despite all the concerns, Green said it is still too early to judge the year as a “gloomy” planting season.
“We certainly do have some yield loss,” Green said. “But it is too early to tell.”
John Smith, the educational director of the Ohio State University Extension office, said the heat is posing a threat to the current corn and soybean crops.
“Once the heat gets above 86 degrees, the corn begins to shut down,” Smith said. “It doesn’t grow at all. We could surely use some rain. The crops are begging for moisture.”
Smith agreed that the late planting season likely will have an effect on the final yield, as it is estimated that farmers lose a bushel of corn production for every acre that doesn’t get planted before May 10. It was estimated that approxmiately 5,000 acres did not get planted in the county when farmers were required to report their corn planting acreage July 15.
However, he noted that the growing season still has a long way to go.
“A lot depends on the rest of the growing season,” Smith said. “There is still a lot of time for it to cool down. A late frost would help too.”
Smith said the heat could affect the soybean crop, too. He said there is a danger of the soybeans still being too low to the ground because of the heat when they reach their flowering stage, which could potentially hurt the yield.
Smith reported that so far the wheat test rates have been good and it appears that the county wheat harvest will prove a good rate of production with average numbers or slightly better.
Smith said farmers are also currently monitoring the western bean cutworm, which eats and destroys ears of corn.
“They found some eggs and damaged corn in Northwest Ohio,” Smith said. “So far the damage has been very minimal, but we are watching the situation. We have set four traps in the county to monitor it.”

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