ROOK: Weather problems cut the yield potential of corn, soybeans
South Dakota's corn and soybean production will be off of last year's record mark when farmers produced 236 million bushels of soybeans and nearly 800 million bushels of corn. This year the state was hit by various weather problems which have str...
South Dakota’s corn and soybean production will be off of last year’s record mark when farmers produced 236 million bushels of soybeans and nearly 800 million bushels of corn. This year the state was hit by various weather problems which have stressed the crop and cut the yield potential, especially on corn.
The problems started this spring with above normal rains in the southeast, which delayed corn planting. Some farmers also had to replant a portion of their corn or even take prevent plant, so there is a great deal of variability in the crop. Tim Ostrem, farms near Centerville, S.D., and says his corn yields will be down quite a bit from last year on his dryland fields.
“Our crop got planted later and then we took prevent plant on a portion of it,” he says. “So on corn I was at about 185 last year. I suppose we’ll be 150 this year for yield.”
Doug Hanson, who farms near Elk Point, S.D., says 2016 was one of the toughest planting seasons he can remember. So he’s not going to be able to match last year’s record corn yields, which in many fields ran over 200 bushels per acre.
“We still have a lot of empty holes in these fields that you can’t really see from the highway and you know if we could pull off 160 I guess that would be a nice spot for a year like this,” he says.
The northern half of the state had more timely planting, but some pockets turned dry. Jamie Williamson, DuPont Pioneer commercial business lead, says this is one of the most variable years he’s seen in South Dakota. “All over the board from yields very similar to last year to some that are chopping silage because they’ve had so much stress,” he says.
The other negative has been the heat in July which hit during pollination and caused some tip back on corn ears. Monsanto Agronomist Keith Mockler says that will likely reduce yields by 10 to 15 percent. “We’re seeing quite a bit of tip-back though and that’s just from those hot nights we’ve had that’s pushed this crop along and that’s part of that yield reduction we’re going to take over last year,” he says.
In 2015, South Dakota had a record corn yield, but Mockler is projecting a lower state average in 2016. “Last year we were in that 159 to 160 yield on corn for the state average,” he says. “You’re probably gonna be 15 to 24 bushel off that this year.”
The state’s soybean crop has better potential than the corn, but farmers say their yields will be off the record 46 bushel per acre statewide average from last year. Doug Hanson says with the late spring he had to switch to some earlier maturing soybean varieties, so the crop is behind.
Jeff Thompson, farms just north of Sioux Falls, S.D., near Crooks, which has been one of the few garden spots. He says with the adequate rains he’s received all season he’s optimistic about yield potential, especially for the soybeans. “We had real good yields last year so it should be pretty close to last year I’m guessing,” he says. “Pretty much everything in the 60s you know.”
Most of the state’s soybean producing areas have received good rain in August, plus insect pressure has been light with very few reports of soybean aphids. That is generally a good setup for a big crop. But, even with additional rain in August to fill out the beans, Mockler says it will be tough to beat last year’s record 46 bushel per acre yield. “We won’t top it,” he says. “But I think we’re going to be at 44 to 45. I think it’s going to be a pretty good crop, but whether we’re going to top last year. I don’t think so.”