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Agronomist says some hope is left for Kansas corn, producers should evaluate pollination

A Kansas agronomist says timely rains have created some optimism for this year’s corn harvest in part of the state.  

Kris Young with AgriGold tells Brownfield corn in the northeast and northcentral area has had good grain set and the forecast is promising. “If they get some more moisture this week, there are going to be some areas of the state with pretty good corn, high yields. It’s probably going to be about a third of the state at most.  The rest is going to be average and then from there half is going to be in the poor ratings.”

But in the southern half, Young says conditions have deteriorated fast with much of the crop lost for the year. “It’s started to fire on the lower leaves pretty severely and then upper leaf started to fire.  Once we start seeing that, the chance of the crop making it especially if we don’t have rain in the forecast in the next few days isn’t good.  With the temperatures we’ve been having, a lot of growers have been putting it up for silage to get something out of that crop.”

USDA’s latest report said corn is rated 39 percent good-to-excellent. 

He says now is an ideal time to check pollination in drought-stressed corn. “If you pull back those husks and the silks fall off, you know it pollinated.  Then you have to evaluate what your grain set is going to be because if you didn’t pollinate then it’s a failed crop and you need to look at putting it in the silo or bailing it. If you did get good grain set, then you want to evaluate how it’s setting grain.”

Young tells Brownfield producers can sometimes avoid top-end yield loss if they can irrigate. “As that corn crop gets under stress, it’s going to start aborting kernels from the tip downward.  Growers need to be looking at that to see how the crop is progressing mainly to decide if they need to put more water on or if they’re going to be scheduling an early harvest if that crop starts to shut down.

Young says corn is at peak water use right now and could be using one-third to a half-inch of water.

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