A lack of moisture and a couple of weeks of below average temperatures in August have combined to hit all the dry land crops hard and cut potential yields.


A lack of moisture and a couple of weeks of below average temperatures in August have combined to hit all the dry land crops hard and cut potential yields.

Corn appears to be the worst hit among the dry land crops.

“This just wasn’t a year for dry land corn,” said Mark Ploger, Pratt County Extension Agent. “It’s probably not going to be very good.”

One farmer told Ploger that his dry land corn started out with 130 bushel per acre potential but without rain he has had an insurance adjuster evaluate the crop already. The lack of moisture was too much for the corn to produce a crop.

 “You usually have one shot to have moisture at the right time of the year and we didn’t get it,” Ploger said.

Some farmers may opt to use the corn for silage but they need to be cautious. Crops build up nitrate levels when they are dry too long and livestock are susceptible to nitrate poisoning, Ploger said.

Dry land soybeans are taking a bad hit now as well. It got too dry too quick and soybeans are not doing well.

Milo tends to do better than other dry land crops. They tolerate a lack of moisture much better than other crops. With just a little moisture they can hang on and still produce. Even little rains like 30 or 40 hundredths of an inch can make all the difference.

This year the milo yield depends on when and where it was planted. Some places in the county got those little rains and the milo still has a chance to produce a crop.

“Some of the milo looks fairly decent,” Ploger said.

The milo crop is not going to be a bumper crop. Some will range from average to better than average but some got too dry and will hardly make anything. Without that rain the head won’t develop and the crop won’t have much of a chance.

While these dry land crops suffer from the heat, cotton needs the heat units to thrive. The lower than average temperatures in August slowed cotton development but warmer temperatures are helping development again. The next four to six weeks will help determine the cotton yield, Ploger said.

Farmers are hoping for a late freeze, especially cotton, this year to give all the crops time to get the best yield possible.

“It’s all a weather game right now,” Ploger said.

The situation is much better for all the irrigated crops. The heat stressed the irrigated crops but the water still has the crops looking good. Irrigated crops could produce an average to better than average crop this year.

Disease and insects haven’t been much of a factor this year. There was a little gray leaf spot on corn leaves but it did little damage, Ploger said.

Milo growers found some plants with earworms but they also didn’t have much impact. Most of milo earworm problem was north and west of Pratt County.