At this point in the growing season, many growers’ minds are on the large amount of heat and the lack of adequate rainfall in many parts of the country. Heat and stress leading up to and throughout pollination may be difficult situations to work through, but AgriGold Eastern Agronomy Manager John Brien is optimistic.
“It is very important that growers see the big picture when dealing with their crops. While there could be a potential loss associated with this short-term stress, growers still have great potential to produce a bountiful crop,” says Brien.
Brien maintains that the crop is off to a great start. While initial stands were slow to establish in many regions, the heat and moisture in June allowed the crop to accelerate its growth. Soils conditions were very conducive for plants to build a strong root system to help mitigate mid-season stresses. In addition, early season activities such as side-dressing, herbicide applications and spoon-feeding trips across the field have been timely.
“These choices growers have made already this season have helped to build these solid factories out in the field that are more likely to maximize yields,” said Brien.
According to Brien, the key to a high yielding crop is heat early in the season to build a solid factory that can support high potential grain fill and then a cooler grain fill period to give the plants plenty of opportunity to build piles of grain for harvest. While the grain fill period is yet to be determined, the early to mid-season has helped build potential for a huge crop across the Corn Belt.
The next step for many growers is a foliar fungicide application at tasseling. Given the current growing conditions, Brien believes fungicide applications may be more critical to mitigate stress than trying to mitigate mid to late season disease pressure. While there are growers who are already planning to spray fungicides as part of their plan, there will be others asking if they should spend the money on fungicides this year. Brien’s short and simple answer is “Yes!” AgriGold’s agronomy team agrees that fungicides help protect a grower’s investment and can help them capitalize on the next rainfall event by having the crop protected and ready.
“The most important piece of advice I can give growers who are concerned about their crops is ‘Don’t ever give up on your crop!’” Brien said. “The crops out in your field have an amazing amount of resilience and can tolerate a lot of stress while still producing an amazing amount of grain.”
While the short-term outlook looks bleak in some areas, the crop is only one good rain event away from a significant turnaround. Neglecting to provide the crop with timely and key management strategies could end up costing bushels at harvest according to Brien.
“I have seen numerous examples of growers following their plan through tough periods that were rewarded and just as many examples of growers who neglected their crop due to less-than-ideal conditions and left bushels on the table,” said Brien. He added that even if the coming days do not look as promising as one would like, there is still a lot of time to add yield out in the field.
Brien believes that the 2020 crop is absolutely set up for success.
“There are still many days and weather events that could either help or hinder the crop but the improved genetics of today can tolerate and thrive in a lot of conditions and in an economy where bushels count, don’t short your crop potential by giving up on it.”