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Corn on Track for Early Maturity

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
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Many University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cropwatch non-irrigated test sites for corn indicate maturity more than two weeks earlier than average in 2018. (UNL graphic)

The latest update from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cropwatch project, dated Aug. 2, 2018, indicates that the 2018 corn crop is moving right along; in fact, this year's crop is likely to, in many locations, reach physiological maturity more than two weeks ahead of average.

Following are highlights from the report, emphasizing conditions and projections for non-irrigated (rainfed) corn:

"Corn has reached kernel milk stage in most parts of the Corn Belt, except the eastern region where it is still in silking and blister stage. As forecasted in the previous article, sites in the southern fringe of the region (Missouri, Kansas, and southern Illinois) are well ahead of the rest of the locations. They are already in the kernel dent stage and expected to mature within the next two weeks. (In other words, before the end of August. -- BA)

High temperatures have accelerated corn development across the entire region. For example, there is a high probability (greater than 75%, that is, a chance of three out of four) of reaching physiological maturity at least one week earlier in about 75% and 70% of the rainfed and irrigated sites, respectively. This pattern is more pronounced in eastern Kansas, Iowa, and the northern fringe of the region where most sites are expected to reach black layer more than two weeks earlier than average.

Forecast yield potential is highly variable across rainfed sites. There is a high probability of above-average yield (more than 75%) at about half of the sites, mostly located in Nebraska (six sites), Illinois (five sites), and southern Minnesota (two sites). In contrast, there is a high probability of below-average yield for six sites located along a transect that includes portions of northeastern Kansas (Manhattan and Silver Lake), northern Missouri (St. Joseph and Brunswick), and southeastern Iowa (Crawfordsville). Yield is also forecasted to be below average at the North Dakota site (Dazey). Near-average yields are likely (greater than 75% probability) at two sites in Indiana (Butlerville and West Lafayette) and one site in Iowa (Nashua). The scenario is less clear for the other rainfed sites, although, for most of these sites, the chance of below-average yields is very low."

The Cropwatch installment concludes with this perhaps-obvious, but on-the-mark note: "The temperature during the rest of August will likely determine the trend..."

The full Cropwatch article, with more supporting graphics, is at this link:…


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