Optimism about Nebraska’s dryland corn crop is fading fast

Some farmers in the Western Corn Belt say they’re losing hope for their dryland crops.

“Nebraska corn crop is taking a big hit.  The whole state is either drought or replant or whatever. It’s in bad shape.”

Jay Reiners farms in south-central Nebraska near Hastings and tells Brownfield some crops are unable to be irrigated. “Lot of replant corn that’s even irrigated is pollinating right now in the heat.  There are a lot of pivots upside down that are unavailable for use right now.”

Southwest Nebraska farmer Jan TenBensel says rain showers have been sparse. “Well, my crops look terrible.  We’re looking at probably an extremely limited dryland harvest. Possibly a zero on the dryland.  The irrigated, of course with the extreme heat we’ve had, we’re going to see some pollination issues.”

Ag Director Steve Wellman farms 45 minutes east of Lincoln and says crops are showing signs of heat stress even though the drought isn’t as intense in his area. “We pulled some ears in the corn.  There’re some pollinations problems in probably the top inch or two inches in the ear not getting filled.”

Widespread rain showers moved across the northern portion of the state Sunday night, while the southern half remained relatively dry.

Brownfield spoke with the farmers at the 2022 Ag and Economic Development Summit.

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