With flooding already underway in parts of the eastern Corn Belt, and new flooding likely ahead for the northwestern Corn Belt, it makes you wonder about the need for drought-tolerant corn hybrids. However, if current La Niña weather patterns fail to fade soon, dry weather may be on its way to major corn growing areas later in the season, says Drew Lerner, meteorologist and owner, World Weather Inc.
With wet, and/or snow-covered soils predominating from Missouri to Minnesota well beyond mid-March this year, Midwestern farmers are understandably anxious about the odds for timely corn planting. However, the best advice to corn growers for now is preparation and patience, according to Jeff Coulter, University of Minnesota, and Bill Wiebold, University of Missouri, Extension corn agronomists.
A massive spring snow melt in the Upper Midwest is about to begin this week, and flooding will likely occur over a much larger area than typically occurs each spring, says Steve Buan, Service Coordination Hydrologist, North Central River Forecast Center (NCRFC), Chanhassen, MN.
A couple weeks ago, I told my youngest daughter, who is 11, about an article I’d read about a so-called “supermoon” that was set to appear on Saturday, March 19. According to the article, this particular moon was going to be a full moon at its closest point in its orbit to Earth; the next full moon scheduled to trek this close to Earth wouldn’t show up for another 18 years.
Last week, corn futures prices approached levels not seen since June and July 2008, when nearby futures settled above $7.50/bu. With corn prices again approaching record highs, attacks on corn ethanol are soon to follow, as they did in 2008, when critics argued corn should be reserved to meet food demand, rather than fuel demands.
Midwestern farmers will likely generate higher incomes in 2011 from growing corn compared to soybeans, says Gary Schnitkey, University of Illinois (U of I) agricultural economist. Schnitkey’s profit predictions follow from having projected corn and soybean budgets for December and then updating them again in late February.
Nationally, there’s a tight, four-way competition for row-crop acreage going on, and soybeans may be the crop that gains the fewest overall acres, says Chad Hart, Iowa State University (ISU) agricultural economist.
The early weeds in corn are too small to hurt anything, right?Wrong. Very wrong, according to Corn Belt weed scientists. “Early season weed control is vital to both future yields and profitability, because early weed flushes compete intensely with corn for both nitrogen (N) and water,” says Jeff Gunsolus, University of Minnesota Extension weed scientist. “Dense weeds can also shade soils and make them cooler so that corn grows more slowly.”
A few weeks ago I brought one of my vehicles into the shop for some routine maintenance and the mechanic showed me where a mouse had built a nesting area near the battery. He suggested I put a few moth balls under the hood and wipe the battery down with fabric softener to repel them for the winter.
Recent concerns over insufficient corn and soybean supplies for 2011 could intensify if Midwest weather proves unfavorable for corn and soybean production this spring or summer. Yet, the current La Niña weather system that has prevailed since April 2010, is likely to pose little threat to Midwestern corn and soybean yields this year, according to Harry Hillaker, Iowa state climatologist.
2011 could be a year when scouting for soybean aphids should take priority over other items on your yearly to-do list, says Ron Hammond, Ohio State University Extension entomologist.
“All indicators point to what I’d call another potential soybean aphid year in 2011 for Ohio,” he says. “At minimum, soybean aphids will be more common here in 2011 than they were in 2010. So, it’s just a matter of where they will end up and how big a problem they will be.”
Soybean futures prices could very well head back into the teens soon and stay there for some time, but it all depends on China, says Chad Hart, Iowa State University (ISU) agricultural economist. Last week, nearby soybean futures markets had just popped into the teens after the USDA released its latest crop report, but then commodity markets dipped sharply on Friday before heading back up slightly early this week.