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2014 corn harvest wrap-up

In 2014, just about everywhere else in the state was left with less than ideal conditions for planting and holes in crop stands that would haunt them all season.

Some fields were replanted multiple times as the spring rains persisted, according to Peter Thomsion, Ohio State University Extension corn specialist.

“The crop did not necessarily go into the ground in stress free conditions. We were plagued with too much water and cooler temperatures early in the season. Then there was lot of discussion about to what extent these holes from planting would ultimately reduce yields at harvest,” Thomison said. “I think around 20% of the corn crop got planted the last week of May due to the persistent cool and wet conditions. And, there was probably some nitrogen loss in many cases with all of the moisture.”

But once the Ohio crop was up and growing, there was limited stress moving forward.

“There are, of course, exceptions, but 2014 was pretty stress free. At the Western Branch I don’t think I saw one maximum temperature that was above 90 degrees,” he said. “By in large the temperatures were fairly cool and the crops were fairly stress free. We had moderate to downright cool temperatures during grain fill and it was delayed, which contributed to a later harvest. The crop was not maturing as rapidly as everyone wanted, but that delayed grain fill period, in combination with rains, contributed to higher yields in many parts of the state. There were nearly ideal conditions for pollination and the cool, wet weather helped maintain that yield potential from pollination.”

And, though there were some favorable conditions for diseases to develop in the corn crop, significant problems did not really materialize.

“We started seeing a lot of leaf nitrogen deficiency symptoms earlier in the season than we did the previous year. If it did not hurt the yield directly, did it hurt the stalk integrity? We had concerns about the standability of this crop, but it stood surprisingly well,” Thomison said. “I thought we would see more disease problems like Diplodia and Gibberella because of how cool and wet it was. I thought conditions were very favorable for those, but we did not see those problems on the widespread scale that we expected.”

The slow developing corn and soybean crops generated significant concern about the potential consequences of an early frost and a wet crop.

“This year, the corn was pretty wet and that led to some lower test weights in some places down into the 50s and high 40s. Considering that so much of this crop was planted in late May and into June, though, the crop has done much better than expected in terms of drying down. I understand that is little consolation for people looking at low commodity prices and high drying costs, but it could have been much worse. We were fortunate that we had some warmer temperatures and dry weather during the harvest season,” Thomison said. “And we were all biting our nails about when the first frost was going to come and we were very fortunate with that. We dodged a bullet. We really lucked out on the frost. If it had come in mid-September, it would have been devastating.”

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