Forecast favorable for Midwest corn pollination


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The Agricultural Forecast Center reports overall favorable conditions for the Midwest corn pollination period July 20 to July 30.

The pollination period is the reproductive phase of plant growth and the most critical period in determining just how much corn a plant will yield.

This one- to two-week period can make or break the corn crop. Corn needs typical summer warmth and some rain for optimal growing.

“We are seeing a normal progression of fronts and scattered rain throughout the period, but in most areas, no prolonged spells of hot weather,” Agriculture Expert Senior Meteorologist Dale Mohler explains.

“This is the type of weather that is ideal for the pollination period, when hot weather and an absence of rain can cause problems. The only areas which may have a problem with too much heat are the western fringes of the Midwest croplands.”

Since the floods in early June, which washed away some corn fields and drove up corn prices, farmers have been hoping for better weather. “There has been positive momentum since the flood,” said Mohler. “Temperatures have warmed up, rainfall has returned to normal levels and the cornfields are green.”

While warmer weather and less rainfall are good news for farmers after recent flooding rains and chilly temperatures, too much of a good thing could also hinder pollination development.

“They will not want to see five consecutive days of temperatures above 95 degrees or 6 to 10 consecutive days without rainfall,” Mohler cautions.

The primary area that may be adversely impacted by hot weather is the western Corn Belt, including Nebraska, central Iowa and northern Missouri. Temperatures may reach the mid 90s toward the end of the third week of July and possibly again toward the end of the fourth week.

“While the crops have made excellent progress in recent days, they are still lagging a few days behind the normal growth cycle,” Mohler said. “If the weather stays favorable the rest of the summer, and we don’t have an early frost, we could end up harvesting close to what was expected at the start of the season.”

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