Some Eastern Corn Producers Looking at Replant after Bonnie & Colin
Tropical storms Bonnie, and then closely followed by Colin dealt a double whammy on some of North Carolina’s most numerous, and productive corn fields in Beaufort, Washington, Hyde and Terrell Counties in eastern North Carolina. Rod Gurganus was able to do a helicopter flyover, courtesy of Sid Cayton and take photographs of the standing water. Now that some of the water is gone, Gurganus outlines what some farmers are looking at:
“The situation definitely looks better now, given some sunshine and drier weather, and a chance for some of this water to drain off. We have seen some areas in the fields that are completely dead, that corn is not coming back. But, we have seen some corn in other areas that turned brown, especially the lower leaves as the root systems were compromised, the plants were trying to grow but they weren’t able to, so they were feeding on themselves, pulling nitrogen out of the lower leaves into the part of the plant that was trying to grow.
But, in the last few days, those pictures we looked at initially, those look a lot greener, the corn is recovering.”
Of the fields that weren’t totally lost, Gurganus says the prescription now is clear skies and lots of sun:
“This corn crop is trying to recover, and trying to get growing again. And, I think, given some decent growing weather now, and some help, some of these fields haven’t received any nitrogen yet, prior to this water, so they really looked bad, and were really yellow due to nitrogen deficiency. But, now that the guys are able to get back in and get some nitrogen on it, I think we’re going to see some improvements there as well.”
So, what kind of yield loss are we talking about? Gurganus says it’s all over the board:
“The big question in our mind is; what kind of a yield loss have we received, and that’s hard to tell. We’re thinking single-digit, in terms of percent lost on most of it, we can get by with that. Where had this more significant damage, we can go from 25-30% damage, all the way to 100% loss where the plants were completely killed off.
Luckily, though, those areas are limited to the corners of the fields, or really low spots, or areas, like in Hyde County, where they couldn’t get the water pumped off quick off to keep it from killing the plants. Hopefully, that’s going to be minimal in the end.”
In the cases of high percentage of loss, here in mid-June, there’s still plenty of replant opportunities:
“I think so. A lot of it depends…well, we have to go back and do something in an unrecoverable situation, if you will. They had to make decisions, those decisions had to be based on the ‘window’, what are we going to plant back in there that’s going to grow…we’re in the window on soybeans. I mean, obviously, we’re still planting double crop soybeans behind this wheat we’re harvesting. And so, we’re still in the planting window for soybeans, and we can make a good yield.
Problem is, what herbicides did they already have down that might impact or limit them on what they can put back in there. Like, I just talked to a grower that had put atrizine down under his corn, well, he’s going to be limited.”