The rain around here has been hit and miss. We are on the dry side right now and this week of 90 degrees is not going to help us any. There is a chance of showers tomorrow. We are holding our own. The husk color is starting to change a little bit lighter. We’re going to start toward maturity on this corn.
On the soybean side we are done blossoming here. The pods are made. The only thing that is going to change now is bean size so we are hoping we get that shower tomorrow. We have a 40% chance for rain tomorrow afternoon. Twice in the last two weeks we have gotten 2 or 3 tenths. We could use a good soaker here to help us finish out. Some of the neighbors got a 1-inch rain the other day, but I was not one of the lucky ones.
This is when the mat from the cover crops really shines and helps hold the moisture. I live on a ridge here and I have had some really good cover crops the last few years. Things are looking really good. We’ll see what happens in the next 4 or 5 days.
The fields are very clean. Corn has stayed very clean in terms of disease around here. Soybeans are very green and have very little disease and very little insect pressure, which is surprising because of how much rain we had early.
We normally start putting on cover crops around Labor Day right before the beans turn. I don’t see any beans close to that yet. I don’t think our harvest will be early for beans. The corn is further along. We are putting cover crops — fall turnips and radishes —on our wheat stubble right now.
Two weeks ago we were desperately dry. The rain started coming the following day and we have had significant moisture since then. We are back to very good shape. The only down side was that it pushed our fourth cutting hay back to later than we wanted it. We’ll deal with that because all of the other crops needed the rain and the hay needed it. We started mowing fourth-cutting yesterday. We are looking to hit that more today and tomorrow and start chopping today and finish up tomorrow or Wednesday. It will challenge us if we want to take a fifth cutting off of some of our better seedings. It may have to come off after a frost. If you look out 30 days from now we are at Sept. 23 and we really don’t like to cut much after Sept. 15. We’ll see how the hay comes back and whether we have time and how it goes.
We have seen some frogeye in some spots and we did put some fungicide on some late planted soybeans this weekend. We are curious to see how that works out. For the most part, things are hanging in there and looking really promising.
The cows have held up immensely well in the heat. Technology can change your life. We used to just dread these hot days. In our old parlor, if it got down to 72 degrees at night, in the morning it would have been a sticky mess. Our barn is so comfortable now and the cows do not really show much heat stress and production just chugs along. We are thankful for the technology.
We’re definitely drying out in a hurry. Two weeks ago they were predicting some pretty good rains. It was dark to the west but the rain never showed up. We have not had a drop of rain in August. We are going into our fifth week without a measurable rain. These 90-degree days are really going to take a toll on us.
I would think this will have to take off some of the top end corn yield. We’re speeding up the maturity on this corn way too fast. We’re seeing corn starting to fire up already. The pollination of this corn was really good, but we still need some cooler weather to develop kernel depth and test weight. I think we are speeding right through that now and it just won’t give the corn time to get that good kernel depth, I’m afraid. If we could cool off at night to give that corn a chance to breath it would really help, but these warm, humid nights now combined with the heat in the day are speeding the crop up.
The beans had been looking pretty good. I am starting to see some wilting in the heat of the day and some yellow spots where they are starting to die. We got some compaction from the heavy rains last spring and the roots of the beans can’t get down to any moisture. We have been seeing some sudden death syndrome, especially down in Butler County in some of the tougher soils.
If we get another week of these temperatures without rain, I think harvest will be on the early side. We have a chance for some rains this week, but not a big chance. Since we planted the crop we are running right at our 10-year average for rain, but we had big rains early in the season and we sure are missing the moisture now.
The rains have been spotty. At my house we have had close to 3 inches of rain in the last 2 weeks. Towards the central part of the county they are looking at about only an inch. We’ll see how well this handles these 90-degree temperatures without much of a chance of rain in the forecast.
I don’t think any of that rain ran off. Some of it came hard and we have a few beans that lodged just a little and a little bit of corn that sled-runnered. We had some wind and a little hail damage. We didn’t get affected too much, but a little further north into Madison County there is some corn that is pretty beat up.
The fungicide on the corn really helped and we are keeping an eye on the soybeans. We are not really seeing any disease issues. So far so good.
The heat should help bring the corn along. Last Friday I was checking some 108-day corn planted May 15 and it was about halfway dented. The husks are starting to change color. There are areas in the central part of the county on gravel that are burning up and fired from the ground all the way to the top.
Compared to the crop I had last year, my crop this year is in pretty good shape. I think things will shape up pretty well in 2021, though I hope we do not lose too many pods with the heat this week. The true test will be when the combine runs this fall.