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Crop Conditions Little Changed; Some Quality Issues Possible

USDA’s weekly crop progress report for Oct. 2 held no surprises for the market. Once again, the 18-state ratings moved little. Corn in the 18 states worsened one point on each end of the spectrum while soybeans improved one point on the top end. One point changes were seen in a few of the states served by Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica).

Overall corn harvest reached 24 percent, still slightly behind the 27 percent average – despite 86 percent of the corn being mature, 7 points ahead of average. That pattern applies to Iowa, where 88 percent is mature and 10 percent harvested (against 82 percent and 19 percent averages); Nebraska, at 85 percent mature and 15 percent harvested (average, 77 percent mature, 21 percent harvest) and South Dakota: 80 percent mature, 12 percent harvested (average, 77 percent and 20 percent).

State

Good/Excellent (percent)

Poor/Very Poor (percent)

 

Oct. 2

Sept. 25

Oct. 2

Sept. 25

18 States

72

73

8

7

Iowa

81

82

4

4

Nebraska

73

74

7

6

South Dakota

54

53

17

17

 

Soybeans

Soybean maturity also continues to run ahead of average, with 83 percent in the 18 states dropping leaves, against a 79 percent average. Bean harvest, at 26 percent complete, is just one point behind average. Iowa harvest is lagging average by 5 points, at 21 percent complete, while 85 percent of beans are dropping leaves, well ahead of the 78 percent average. Nebraska harvest is right on average, at 27 percent; 89 percent are dropping leaves, 4 points ahead of average. Only South Dakota harvest is ahead of average – by one point, the same amount leaf drop is ahead of average.   

 

State

 

Good/Excellent (percent)

Poor/Very Poor (percent)

 

Oct. 2

Sept. 25

Oct. 2

Sept. 25

18 States

74

73

7

7

Iowa

81

81

4

4

Nebraska

78

77

4

4

South Dakota

62

61

12

13

 

Be alert for ear rot

Each harvest brings concerns about fungus in some part of the country, and this one is no different. Reports of Diplodia ear rot are especially being heard in the Eastern Corn Belt, but we have had some reports in our states as well. Diplodia is of special concern when weather is dry prior to silking then is warm and wet around silking, according to Emmanuel Byamukama, Extension plant pathologist at South Dakota State University. The spores are spread through splashing rain and ears are most prone to infection about the time the silk dies off. The threat of several types of ear rot is heightened in grain damaged by hail or insects.

Scout your fields for Diplodia and other ear rots, Byamukama recommends. Peel back the husks and inspect at least 10 ears from at least five random stops throughout the field.

Diplodia is identified by dull gray kernels covered in gray or white fungus, often with black specks scattered on the husks, cobs and side of kernels, according to Charles Woloshuk, plant pathologist at Purdue University.

If more than 10 percent of the ears in a field have more than 10-20 percent moldy kernels, harvest as soon as possible, dry to less than 14 percent moisture, cool to under 50 degrees and store separately from grain from healthy fields, advises Pierce Paul, plant pathologist at Ohio State University.

Unlike several other common fungi, Diplodia does not produce the mycotoxins of concern to animal health, but does lead to light test weight and an increased amount of fines and foreign material.

If you suspect your crop has been affected by Diplodia or any other rot – or associated toxins – contact your crop insurance team to discuss crop insurance implications, preferably before harvest, says Trent Janssen, vice president – insurance at FCSAmerica, based in Columbus, Neb. Damaged grain (from any cause) is not covered by insurance once stored in the bin. “If a delivery is rejected or discounted because of quality issues, stop harvesting and contact your agent immediately.”

For more information about corn rots, click to download a free copy of Diseases of Corn: Diplodia Ear Rot from the Purdue Extension website.

Other resources include:

http://www.cornmycotoxins.com/home/

http://igrow.org/agronomy/corn/scout-for-corn-ear-rots/

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