Extension Crop Reports and Weather Update - UNL CropWatch, Oct. 12, 2012

Extension Crop Reports and Weather Update - UNL CropWatch, Oct. 12, 2012

October 9, 2012

Jenny Rees, Extension Educator in Clay County:  Yields in the area are quite variable as they most likely are throughout the state. Some irrigated producers are obtaining some of the best yields they’ve ever had if they were able to keep water on their crops. Irrigated corn has ranged from 180 bu/ac to nearly 300 bu/ac in some fields, with most fields hitting 240-280 bu/ac. I’ve heard of dryland corn yields ranging from 15 bu/ac to nearly 140 bu/ac with no-till/strip till and wheat stubble being the key factors for higher yields in dryland this year. Soybean yields have ranged from 30-85 bu/ac. Some wheat has been planted and emergence hasn’t been too bad for as dry as it’s been. More wheat has yet to go in and the big question is whether it should still be planted. We are recommending continued planting -- just increase the seeding rates as was mentioned in previous CropWatch articles. More cover crops have been planted this year than in previous years. Some were planted after seed corn to remove excess nitrogen and some were for grazing/forage options.

Charles Shapiro, Extension Soil Scientist, Haskell Ag Lab, Concord: Most of our soybeans are out. Dryland corn yields are all over the board, from almost nothing to 75-90 bu/ac, depending on soils, practices, etc. Soybean yields indicate it was a good year for no-till, relative to plowing. Quality was a factor with some beans at the station. Seed size was small and seeds were discolored. Some looked more like BBs than soybeans in the drought-stricken areas. Most all of our soybeans have been harvested and 50-60% of the corn is out.

Keith Glewen, Extension Educator in Saunders County: The picture here is a lot like other parts of eastern Nebraska, between grass fires and harvest. About 90% of the beans have been harvested and 75% of the corn. A number of irrigated growers say this was their best year ever for irrigated corn. Yields of 240 bu/ac are common, with some as high as 260 bu/ac. Growers who didn’t give up the ship when it came to irrigating, made the right decision. Those who stopped and moved on to irrigating beans wish they had stuck it out with a couple more irrigations. Irrigated bean yields are very good at 60-70 bu/ac. Dryland corn yields are 30-110 bu/ac, with a lot in the 75-100. Dryland bean yields are 15-35 bu/ac. With the early harvest, some growers have moved on to fixing fencerows, taking out trees.

Thomas Dorn, Extension Educator in Lancaster County: Corn harvest is nearly complete with yields all over the place, from 40-130 bu/ac in dryland. It really made a difference this year whether the field was in no-till or not. Soil with more organic matter yielded better. Most of the county’s fields are no-till. Soybean harvest is fairly far along. The number of calls on aflatoxin and storage issues has dropped off. I supervised a National Corn Grower plot with a yield of 202 bu/ac.

Teshome Regassa, Crop Variety Testing Coordinator: Our corn harvest is done and yields were similar to other reports here, ranging from the low 20s to 175 in some places. With erratic or no precipitation in some areas, one of the factors affecting yield was planting date relative to local rains. We’ve started posting some corn variety test results to the website (varietytest/home) and will continue this over the next couple weeks.

Wayne Ohnesorg, Extension Educator in Madison, Wayne, Pierce, and Stanton County:  Dryland corn yields have been in the 20-65 bu/ac range, depending on soil type. Yields in heavier soils were in the 60s, but there were some 0s as well. These were taken out and chopped for silage. Irrigated corn yields depended on available water and the size or the well. In fields where there was an 800-gallon per minute well, yields ranged from 180-220 bu/ac. In fields with a 1200-gallon well and where they kept up, yields ranged from 290-300 bu/ac. Bean harvest is about 90% complete with yields ranging from 20-30 bu/ac in dryland and 60-70 in irrigated.

Karen DeBoer, Extension Educator in Cheyenne County:  We got about ½ inch of moisture in 4-6 inches of snow and rain at the end of last week. Wheat planting is 95% complete. We’re seeing some uneven stands that should improve with moisture. Dryland corn is being harvested and yields aren’t expected to be good. Proso millet harvest is pretty much complete. Last week’s freeze didn’t damage too much and will probably help with harvest.

John Thomas, Extension Educator in Box Butte County:  In this area 75-80% of the dry beans are out. We had a very dry spring and some beans got off to a slow start and are later maturing. Of the remaining 20% of the bean crop yet to be harvested, it’s estimated that 50% were ruined by the frost. The beans are discolored and not in marketable condition, but could be used for cattle feed. Wheat planting is underway in some harvested bean fields. Wheat will be planted up to mid-October and should still be okay. Sugar beets started regular harvest Oct. 6. About 12-15% of the total crop in Box Butte County has been harvested. Overproduction is estimated at 20%. There may be a market for cattle feed or other uses. A lot of winter wheat is up and it looks pretty good, with just a little patchiness. A lot are just starting corn harvest. Some growers are looking at some really nice corn with yields of 200+ in some irrigated fields. (Most of our corn is irrigated.) Dryland corn and dry edible beans were complete failures where there was no rain.

A lot of cattle are feeding in corn stalks and demand for acres is high, driving up the per-acre price from approximately $15 to $26-$30 to graze stalks. Some are paying the grower $50 an acre to bale and remove stalks in irrigated corn. When setting a price and value on this, growers might want to consider the value of the nutrients they’re losing and will need to replace.

Al Dutcher, Extension State Climatologist:  If the models are correct, we should see some rain over the next few weeks, along with the potential for thunderstorms. A new system will be moving in Friday (Oct. 12) and I wouldn’t be shocked to see it bring severe weather. It’s too early to tell how much moisture this could mean for Nebraska, but there could be widespread moisture of ¼ to ½ inch. If the models are correct, around October 21-23 we could see a fairly widespread snow event for the western third to half of the state, with a total of over six inches.

With the drought and increased need for irrigation, Lake McConaughey dropped significantly this year and growers are expected to receive an allocation of just 10 inches next year. A lot of storage will be available and if we do get a lot of heavy, wet snow, the reservoir system can handle it.

This winter we’re probably going to see a rotation between excessively cold and warm periods with some monster storms. If this pattern continues we could see a brutal start to the winter with unusually cold temperatures and monster storms with cold, dry conditions. If this does develop, we’re not likely to see any relief from the drought until spring.