Photo by Casey Moser.

Corn and soybeans in 2022, a year in review

By Joel Penhorwood and Dusty Sonnenberg, Ohio Ag Net 

Good yields and dry conditions were the theme of this year’s series of the harvest Cab Cam video series, available at ocj.com. Here are some highlights from the videos offering insights into Ohio’s 2022 harvest. 

Tim Everett, Shelby County 

Tim Everett farms alongside his family in Shelby County. They enjoyed a solid, early start to April-planted corn. Tim said the crop was drier than it initially looked with good yields in their area, thanks in part to well-drained fields. 

“We are running about 230 bushels per acre,” he said. “You can tell where we had a lot of rain there later on and it stunted the corn a little bit. Up on the higher grounds, it’s pretty good.” 

Green spots throughout the field would have led you to believe it was wetter than initially looked, but not so according to the moisture meter. 

“I don’t know if I’ve ever shelled any this green that’s this dry,” he said. 

The Everetts also enjoy advanced technology in the combine, utilizing the Harvest Smart system that controls that drive the combine automatically. Technology syncs the combine with the grain cart too, making unloading a hands-free process. 

“We were harvesting one year and one of our landlords came up. We were both eating our dinner in our cabs and we weren’t even driving,” Everett said. “He couldn’t figure that out. That was amazing.”  

Levi Haselman, Putnam County 

Near Leipsic, at Next Gen Organics, Levi Haselman was in a field that faced a challenging year. 

“We got about six inches of rain after we got it planted in about 2 hours’ worth of time, so everything in this field was completely underwater. We went in and replanted it all again,” Haselman said. “About 300 acres total on this north side of Leipsic got replanted. Since then, weather’s been great. We had some nice July, August rains that really helped some of these later planted beans pod up nice. They’re looking good so far.” 

The organic and non-GMO operation is in their sixth year. 

“I took some farm ground over from my father-in-law that was already certified organic. We got into it slowly. We started small-scale as we figured out it was the right fit for us,” Haselman said. “We’re at about 650 acres of certified organic now. We have about two more years until we’re 100% certified with all our acres, but we’re on the right track.” 

Butch Lininger, Logan County 

In southeast corner of Logan County to Triple-L Farms, Butch Lininger was busy harvesting late-June planted soybeans in late October. 

“It was a really slow start the first of the month just waiting on things to mature. But in the last 10 days to two weeks, we’ve picked up the pace drastically,” Lininger said. “We’ve only run about 100 acres of corn but averaging about 190 to 200 bushels per acre. For the soybeans, there’s always something that takes away the top end of a soybean crop, like disease. I think we’ll end up with 60 to 65 averages. With everything considered, we’re just not going to complain a whole lot.” 

Kurt Wyler, Coshocton County 

Kurt Wyler was just getting into his second field of corn harvest after they had completed their soybeans in late October. 

“Today, we’re down here in a creek bottom. It’s a little tougher than we like to see, but I think that’s an issue we’re going to have to deal with all year. A lot of the corn is holding a lot of moisture this year compared to years past,” Wyler said. “This field is doing really good. The average is somewhere around 213, but we’re just getting her opened up here. We think it will do a lot better than that. This is our first year harvesting this field, and it’s corn back to corn so we weren’t sure what to expect.” 

Kurt has a unique harvesting setup, prepared specifically for challenging hillsides. 

“Both of our combines are equipped with side hill leveling packages. They’re added on. It’s not something you can buy through John Deere or Case IH or whatever machine you’re running,” he said. “This one will level out automatically to 18 degrees, which for some of our slopes around here is not nearly enough.” 

Overall, the sentiment of our Cab Cam farmers around Ohio was that they were pleased with this year’s harvest, especially after some challenges earlier in the season. Cab Cams are thanks to Precision Agri-Services Inc. The video series always offers some insights into the successes and challenges of the growing season, of which there were some of both. 

When Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension state soybean and small grain specialist, looks back over the growing season, her mind goes back to the spring of 2019.  

“We have had some rough springs in the past, such as 2019. This spring was pretty good as far as planting the soybean performance trial sites around the state. There was a nice window in the middle of May for planting, and then there was a wet period, and we were pushed back into the first part of June,” Lindsey said.  

While some of the research Lindsey conducts looks at planting date, this is not the case with the soybean performance trials.  

“With our variety testing program, we don’t push the planting date too early since it is not possible to replant them,” Lindsey said. “We do have some research that looks at ultra-early planting (end of March and early April). This year in Clark County we planted soybeans March 30, and those yielded almost 80 bushels per acre. Interestingly the end of March beans yielded similar to beans planted at the end of April.”  

Much of the state had favorable weather conditions this year, however there were areas that had early issues with too much water, and later in the season, areas impacted by drought.  

“We had a site in Union County that had dry weather in August, and the soybeans there only averaged 33 to 40 bushels per acre, so that dry weather had an impact at that location,” Lindsey said. 

From a disease and insect pressure standpoint, Lindsey had some graduate students conducting research around the state that noticed some issues.  

“I had a graduate student evaluating for bean leaf beetle and stink bugs. Those fields sprayed with insecticide did not show a significant benefit from the application in the early results analyzed. There is still more data to process. That may indicate that the pressure from insects in those fields was not significant enough to impact yields,” Lindsey said. “I have another student conducting disease evaluations at several locations. He found frogeye leaf spot at some locations in the northern part of Ohio. This was interesting because frogeye is typically found in central to southern Ohio. He ran a fungicide trial and did not see any yield response in it yet. We observed the disease, but it was not limiting yield. Keeping an eye out for frogeye leaf spot for all growers around the state is a good idea moving forward.” 

Soybean performance trials are planted in three regions across the state every year.  

“Henry and Sandusky counties make up the northern region. In central Ohio, Mercer and Union counties have trials, and Preble and Clinton counties are our southern regions,” Lindsey said. “This year the yields were across the board. Henry County was the real winner with the average soybean yields at 91to 94 bushels per acre. We had 8 soybean varieties yield over 100 bushels per acre at that site. These are the highest yields we have ever seen, and my technician has been doing this for over 25 years. The weather data showed a steady rainfall at the Henry County field location all year with 8+ inches falling during the month of August. 

“Union County which suffered from the drought was the lowest average yield. It was in the Central Region. The Mercer County site in that region averaged 79 to 81 bushels per acer. Preble county in the south region averaged 67 bushels per acre which is good, but for that specific location may be a little lower than we are used to seeing. Clinton County in the southern region averaged 67 to 77 bushels per acre average. Sandusky County in the north averaged 80 bushels per acre.”  

The growing season for corn was also interesting according to Osler Ortez, Ohio State University assistant professor specializing in corn and emerging crops.  

“Spring planting was spread out as there were delays due to excessive soil moisture in some areas. By the end of the first week of May, only 5% of the corn crop was planted in Ohio, according to the USDA crop progress report. By the end of the month 72% had been planted, but there was still 28% to go. Corn planting continued all the way through June. I visited a field in southwest Ohio that was planted as late as June 19,” Ortez said. “Besides some delayed planting, other challenges included imbibitional chilling with the cold wet weather in some cases (when the crop was planted early), and soil crusting due to heavy rains after planting. This year, one of our research sites was lost after it received 3 to 4 inches of rain a few days after planting. A good crop stand did not come up.” 

Some corn fields around the state needed to be replanted due to poor emergence. This led to conversations about adjusting maturities in the replant to avoid the risk of frost prior to maturity in the fall. Nitrogen management also was a topic of discussion due to excess moisture in some areas in 2022.  

In the middle part of the growing season, some areas of the state suffered from hot and dry conditions. This caused pollination issues and tip back or incomplete kernel set in corn, which lowered corn yields. There are several yield limiting factors farmers should be aware of. “Drought usually comes with a combination of high temperatures and a lack of precipitation,” Ortez said. “If these conditions occur during pollination and flowering, that is a problem. Crop water use in corn is in high demand at tasseling and through the pollination and flowering. That is a critical period for the formation of yield. At this stage, corn uses about 2 inches of water per week, some areas of the state did not have that, decreasing yield potential.”  

Late in the season frost damage can be an issue, 2022 got some of that.  

“This concern affects non-mature corn prior to black layer. As of Oct. 2, only 59% of the corn was reported as mature and only 7% had been harvested. We did have reports of some frost damage in Ohio between Oct. 8 and 9,” Ortez said. “Some areas of the state such as the Western Branch and also Wayne County had temperatures below 32 degrees. Typically, most of the acres planted in May do not have a concern about frost. Those later planted fields in June and planted to fuller season hybrids are more susceptible. The corn plant suffers when it still has photosynthetic activity and temperature drops below 32 degrees. The level of damage depends on how low the temperatures drop and for how long, and the maturity of the plant. Adjusting maturities can help this situation accordingly. Frost damage in corn can impact grain moisture at harvest and bring lower yields (lower test weight).”  

Surveying disease pressure in corn, tar spot reports were not as bad as former years.  

“The earlier tar spot occurs in the season, the greater the chance of yield loss,” Ortez said. “This year the tar spot seemed to be later than before.” 

There have been reports of ear molds, however it seems that was more prevalent in northwest and northcentral Ohio this year.  

“The conditions favoring ear molds seemed to be more favorable in those parts of the state. It is important if ear molds are present, that a farmer considers potential combine adjustments that can help get rid of the fines and lower the load of mold concerns,” Ortez said. “Counties across the state are reporting generally good yields, with many over 200 bushels per acre. A mid-season forecast showed that Ohio was set to have close to or above average yields in general. Throughout the growing season, 50% to 60% of the corn crop was rated as good to excellent.  Some fields did report lower yields in the 170 to 180-bushel range.  Some of these lower yields can be attributed unfavorable conditions early season, replanting or late planting date, pollination issues, abnormal ears with tip back or incomplete kernel set, the hot and dry weather conditions at flowering, and lack of precipitation at other critical stages.”  

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One comment

  1. The USDA in its Oct. 12 Crop Production report forecast the 2022 US corn crop at 13.895 billion bushels, down 0.4% from September and down 8% from 2021. The soybean crop was forecast at 4.313 billion bushels, down 1.5% from September and down 3.4% from 2021

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