Rain Makes Corn, but Wind Makes a Mess!

It’s no wonder that farmers always have one eye on the radar and both ears tuned to the next weather report.  Weather is the number one factor in determining yield, said Dr. Fred Below, professor of Plant Physiology for the University of Illinois. 

During a July 15th presentation to a group of farmers enrolled in Latham’s Seed-2-Soil® program, Dr. Below said that rain in July and cool night-time temperatures in August make grain.  His data shows that about 70 bushels of yield can be attributed to weather. 

 Unfortunately, the weather last Monday was out of control!  Straight-line winds of 75 to 100 mph struck many corn fields in Latham Country, including our WHO Crop Tour Stop on Johnny Wilson’s farm near Laurel in Central Iowa.  These photos by John Latham show damage in the area, including a new bin that collapsed, and downed corn.  

Yield loss to the maturing corn crop may be large, reports Rod Swoboda in a recent Wallaces Farmer article entitled “Severe Storms High Winds Flatten Iowa Corn.”

This bin located north of Johnny's field didn't fare quite as well.

Despite the damage that occurred July 11, ISU Extension Corn Specialist Roger Elmore says we can be thankful the damage wasn’t more extensive.  Wet soils caused more root lodging from the derecho winds, explains Dr. Elmore in a blog posted July 15 by Iowa Farmer Today.  Drier soils would have cause more greensnap, and thus higher yield losses.  Read Elmore’s blog post for more information about yield loss from root lodging, greensnap and pinching. 

Corn in Johnny Wilson's field near Laurel, Iowa after 80-100 mph straight-line winds passed through.

Derecho winds on Monday, July 11, damaged fields in Marshall County, Iowa. This competitor hybrid was located in a field just to the North of Johnny's LH 5376.