Ag Weather Forum

July Temperatures Helped Crops

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
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The second straight year of cool July temperatures gave corn a big assist during pollination. (NOAA Graphic)

As the ag world comes to grips with the much-higher-than-expected production estimates in the USDA August 12 reports, a look back at the environment that crops had during July is useful.

It's been noted here and elsewhere that July temperatures play a dominant role in determining the welfare of corn during pollination. Following the drought of 2012, a USDA crop weather study concluded that record-hot temperatures in July lopped more than 20 bushels an acre off the national corn yield; by far the biggest hit to production of any element that season. On the other hand, mild temperatures allow corn to go through the reproductive stage with very little stress.

And, that's what happened this year. The entire Midwest and most of the Plains saw July temperatures that were near or below normal. Below-normal readings were not extremely cool--certainly not on the order of 2014's July temperatures, but they were still below average for the month. Precipitation also did well; most top corn-producing states had above-normal rainfall for July.

The analysis of ear counts in this month's report had an impressive statistic as well. Here's the USDA comment:

"The August 1 corn objective yield data indicate the second highest number of ears on record for the combined 10 objective yield States (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin)."

That statement is another indication of the benefit to corn prospects as a result of the July weather pattern.


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8/13/2015 | 12:54 PM CDT
With 87 counties in Illinois 53 counties in Indiana in a disaster declaration hard to believe they could have a very high ear count people believe what they want to.
Bryce Anderson
8/13/2015 | 7:23 AM CDT
It will be interesting of course to see where we go from here. If the August USDA yield of 168.8 bu/A verifies, it would be another instance where an El Nino crop year results in above-trendline corn yields. Trendline for this year is approximately 167 bu/A--again, the USDA number.
8/12/2015 | 9:14 PM CDT
Ear count means nothing if you don't get any rain to make the kernels develop. Not everyone got too much rain and supposedly ideal weather conditions for a bumper crop. Minnesota is rated as really good - well, I'm in Minnesota and I'm burning up !!! By the time USDA"s folly in manipulating the numbers comes to light it will be too late for many farmers. They will be broke and gone, but the USDA people will get raises and bonuses. Go Figure !!!!!