With only a couple of glitches along the way, the 2017 growing season was just as about perfect a growing season for corn and other crops as we’ve ever seen. That near perfect weather allowed growers and researched to learn a lot. NC State Extension Corn Specialist, Dr. Ron Heiniger says one of the big lessons this year was to be pro-active about the weather:
“Yeah, that’s the beauty, I think we’ve seen yields coming up in corn, talked to a lot of growers that say that corn does a lot better than it used to. Well, I think we’ve learned from our experiences, we’ve done a better job at managing, using genetics and stuff.
“This year, again, I think was an opportunity to learn something, especially about high yields, about making that 400-500 bu/a like you read about in magazines.
“Things that I thought were instructive this year, it sure shows, number one, it’s a little harder job than going out and planting and looking for the right weather, it takes more diligence on our part, corn just cannot have a bad day. For instance, we did have a lot of rain in May, and to some extent, I think that slowed some of our root growth down, and when we did get that big ear trying to come on, that root area wasn’t quite enough to put those few extra few kernels on at a critical time. Does show that that little event there of a six, eight inch rain, most of North Carolina suffered heavy rain there the last week of April, I think it was just enough to undercut a few bushels and keep us out of the money.
“The same thing could be said for that little heat wave we had in July, as minor as that appeared, I think it took a few pounds out of our test weight at the end, which we needed to get that high yield.
“So, it does show we’ve got to look at every little thing when you’re looking at high yields.
“I talked earlier about, indeed, a corn grower that’s looking at growing high yields, it shows that you have to be proactive, you’ve got to be looking ahead rather than testing the tissue thinking you’re low on nitrogen, and put some on. We’ll you’ve already suffered a day or two of low nitrogen. You almost need to be looking at that tissue and looking at the weather trends, looking at what’s going to happen next week, should you add more, is it going to be wet weather forecast and there a lot of leaf growth coming on…we’ve almost got to be proactive in our approach to higher yields.
“I think that’s one of the major lessons here, is finding ways to think proactively about what that corn needs, so it doesn’t have any bad days, so we at least account for any glitches in the weather.”
We’ll wrap up our visit with NC State Extension Corn Specialist Dr. Ron Heiniger later this week on Today’s Topic.