Great prospects for the Illinois corn crop

By:
on May 15, 2012
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The start for the 2012 corn crop in Illinois has been more than promising. 89 percent of the corn has already been planted and under favorable conditions seedlings are developing well. Leaf color is starting to come back, helped by the warmer temperatures. Some areas experienced bad weather though, in the form of heavy rainfall and hail over the past week, especially areas south of I-80, where rainfall totaled 3-4 inches. But these are exceptions, as the weather is generally favorable, allowing for the crops to grow and develop well.

Some of the mid-March fieldshad to be replanted, because of frost damage suffered. The research trial planting at Urbana hasn’t been replanted, but has recovered well. Still, it’s apparent that the late-March planting which escaped frost damage has better potential than the mid-March planting.
GDD (growing degree-day) accumulations for April have been at orbelownormal and particularly at Urbana results haven’t been impressive, with the 258 GDD for the whole month following 211 GDD produced in the second half of March alone. The data shows 170 GDD accumulated in the first ten days of May, which means that the corn planted on May 16 has accumulated 650 GDD by May 9. The April 1 and April 20 plantings have accumulated 440 GDD and 260 GDD respectively.

!m[](/uploads/story/71/thumbs/Pic1_inline.png)Normally 650 GDD would be sufficient to take corn to V7 stage, but the most advanced plants at Urbana are now at V6, standing 10-12 inches tall. The underdevelopment is caused by frost damage, as some of the most injured plants are at V5 and very short for the stage. It appears that the April plantings are on the right track though, with early-April corn almost reaching V5, standing at 6-8 inches and mid April at V2.

Based on data for GDD averages at Urbana over the past ten years, projections are that for an early planted crop that has accumulated 650 GDD by May 9 pollination will take place the third week of June and maturity should be reached the third week of August. Also, mid-April planting will need around 100 GDD or five days more compared to corn planted in early-April, so it should pollinate the first week of July and reach maturity in the third week of August.

There have been some concerns of dry weather expected, but these worries have so far proven idle. The rainfall that has hit Illinois for the past ten or so days ensured that the development of the crops can continue without further complications. The plants should develop vital areas such as leaf area, roots and stalks over the next month. These are very important parts, which are needed in order for the crop to set kernels and fill grains. The capacity to withstand draught will also be increased during that period. The rest depends on the weather conditions, but average rainfall and temperature will be enough to keepthings quite promising.

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