Editors' Notebook

Gray Monday

Cheri Zagurski
By  Cheri Zagurski , DTN Managing Editor
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Monday, Aug. 24 -- the day following the Friday the stock market took a dive; the day the stock market swooned yet again; yeah THAT Monday -- I emailed our group of DTN reader consultants and asked them how things were going on Gray Monday. (It didn't seem bad enough to be called Black Monday to me; but not good enough to be just a regular Monday.) Which sparked some gray-themed answers.

"Speaking about gray," wrote Keith Landis of Sterling, Illinois, "we are seeing some gray leaf spot or something like that in a few corn fields. The corn is coming along fast though, with ears turning and beginning to drop. Some early corn ears we brought in are well dented.

"Beans are a little further off," he continued. "Last cutting of grass and alfalfa will take place this week and next with a wide window of good weather. In general the crops in this area look really good; corn good size ears, with some of ours 16-20 (kernels) round and 30-38 (kernels) long; bean pods may be a few less on the stalk this year."

Karen Johnson, of Avoca, Iowa, was pretty optimistic in the face of Monday's grey markets. "A beautiful sunny day here except a bit cooler than we're used to (less than 50 degrees F overnight)," she wrote. "As for the gray day and falling grain prices and global doom and gloom, many analysts and economists have often said when everyone thinks everything is going down the drain, prices turn around. Corn is coming up again today which is a good sign for farmers. On another positive note, oil prices are down once again.

"We got 1 inch of rain Saturday here northwest of Avoca with no hail or nasty stuff, but 5 miles east of us at Corley they were said to have gotten 4 inches of rain. It was as usual -- spotty in coverage. We had close to 4 inches last week on Monday and Tuesday and no nasty storm stuff. We really needed rain so it was welcome.

"We are very fortunate that beans and corn look good in our western Iowa area; however, there is a lot of leaf blight and disease showing up in corn and some problems in beans as well, such as blights and even some sudden death syndrome. Today I looked ahead on the calendar and fall is Sept. 23. It's not very long until harvest -- about a month away."

Continuing on a more positive note, Steve Tuttle of Basehor, Kansas, wrote, "Our crops look great, but not record-setting yields. Too much rain, cool temps, cloudy days, and nitrogen losses. My yield samples are 10-17.5% less than I expected in Corn. (175-200) bpa. Soybeans are 20-30 days behind, yields should be 40-50 bpa."

Scott Wallis, who farms at the southwest tip of Indiana, reported fairly neutral weather where he lives. "Harvest a week or two away; weather has been unseasonably cool with highs in the low to mid 80s and lows in the low 60s. There was about an inch of rain last week which was good for the beans."

Yes, harvest about a week or so away. Kenton Thomas of southwest Illinois said some harvest could start there this week. "A lot of combines getting looked over," he wrote. "Corn harvest going to start this week here."

Of course, harvest in the Southern states has already started. Demock Mann of Hyde County, North Carolina, wrote, "The crop conditions are pretty good, getting timely rain showers. Corn harvest is starting to pick up; the ones who have not started yet will be rolling this week."

Gray is showing up in stressed crops in the dry part of Kansas where Doug Zillinger farms. "Well, the drought is on again," he wrote. "Most fields of milo are filling grain right now and some are starting to turn. All are showing some form of stress all the way from curled leaves and gray color to burned-up brown. Beans are really going backwards. Corn should be fairly well made except for the moisture to finish the fill process. Weather? Need rain bad. Warm days (85-95) and cool nights (50-60) coupled with the dust, perfect for giving calves respiratory problems."

White, brown and yellow are the colors that have Barry Mumby's attention in Colon, Michigan. He said denitrification is an issue and there is some white mold and SDS in soybeans.

"Weather has been quiet with modest temps and some timely rainfall, so crop looks OK but not great with low and wet areas stunted by excessive rains early," he wrote. "Better drained fields look very good but all fields in our region have some damaged spots. It seems we have more bean pods at each node than normal with good numbers of 3s and some 4s and few 2s per pod. No sign of tip back on the corn yet but denitrification will likely take a few bushels of what appears to be an average yield. No signs of any disease yet but all of our crops are sprayed with a fungicide midsummer. White mold and SDS can still hurt yields so we keep our fingers crossed."

To wrap up, Barry had a question for DTN readers: "Nationwide, I still believe the government is too high on average yields for corn and soybeans this year. The strong summer soybean and corn basis suggests they may have missed it last year! Anyone have any input?"

If you would like to answer Barry, or join our email group, send me your contact info at cheri.zagurski@dtn.com.

(AG)

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