February 6, 2016

Rain won’t help corn much

For corn crops, it’s a case of too little, too late. That’s the story in Dane County anyway, where soybean fields look good enough, but corn remains in trouble. “Clearly, the corn crop was under a great deal of stress,” said Dane County Extension Ag Agent Lee Jennings. “There were a lot of plants that the leaves had gone into a protective mode of rolling up and trying to protect themselves of evaporating the moisture they did have back into the atmosphere.”

There was some significant rainfall this week and last week. “It may help some of the corn crop, that’s in the pollinating phase right now, which is where it uses the most water,” said. “The plants that have already gone through the pollination, I’m sure it will not assist them.”

Jennings predicts a tremendous reduction in corn yields for Dane County farmers, a scenario likely to be repeated across much of the rest of the drought-striken state. Jennings says farmers who’ve purchased crop insurance should be all right, but estimates between one-quarter and one-third have not done so. “I think we still want to get about an inch (of rain) a week, to make the rest of the soybeans as good as they possibly can, and to salvage as much as possible with the corn crop,” Jennings said.

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