Will corn dry down in 2013?

Are we going to have wet corn this year? I am afraid so, unless you were able to plant early. We are facing the following scenarios this year for corn yields and maturity:

• Rains in April and May delayed corn planting in most of the Corn Belt.

• Weather has been cooler than normal and we are at least 12 to 15 days behind normal and about 20 days behind last year, if corn was planted by May 15. Corn planted in late May and early June has just finished pollinating.

• After pollination, It takes 45 to 50 days to reach maturity.

• When planted late, corn hybrids require fewer growing degree days to reach maturity than earlier planted corn if the temperatures are near normal in July and August.

• The yields are generally higher when it is cooler because the plants have a longer grain-fill period. The plants just live longer in cooler weather and yield more but that delays reaching physiological maturity or 32% kernel moisture (black layer).

• First three weeks of August have been cooler than normal and corn maturity has fallen behind. A 110-day, mid-season maturity hybrid requires about 2,600 growing degree days to reach black layer. We are about 350 to 400 growing degree days behind normal depending on location and planting date.

• If the killing frost date is October 15, most of the corn crop should reach physiologic maturity but we need warmer than normal September and October to dry down the late planted corn.

• As in 2009, I expect higher yields but wetter grain. I am afraid we will need to crank up our dryers for the big crop! Let’s hope for the best.

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