Veteran weather watcher says heat is hurting corn

Although the Midwestern corn crop appears to be doing okay through this prolonged spell of hot weather, the heat is having an adverse impact on yield potential.  That according to a veteran weather watcher, Iowa State University ag meteorologist Elwynn Taylor, who says the high temperatures are shortening the development period of the crop.

“Basically, across the Corn Belt, hotter than usual weather in the latter half of July in through August is a yield reducer, even if it’s not a drought condition,” Taylor says. “Even under otherwise ideal conditions, hotter than usual weather does cut the yield back from what you would expect otherwise.”

Taylor says the lack of root development in many fields is also a factor.  In fact, Taylor estimates that the heat has probably shaved at least two bushels off the USDA’s national average yield estimate of 165 bushels per acre.

“That’s where we’re at right now—of course, it could be a bigger decrease than that.  I doubt that the decrease will disappear, however,” Taylor says. “I think that the USDA estimate—this first one that came out—will be on the high side of the actual yield—and that’s because of the temperature.”

On a somewhat positive note, Taylor says we’re moving into a La Nina weather pattern, which should mean a drier harvest season across the Midwest this year.

AUDIO: Elwynn Taylor (6 min MP3)


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