First off this week I wanted to remind folks of the upcoming annual Clinton County Soil and Water Conservation District banquet Wednesday, September 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the McCoy’s catering facility, 1130 Gurneyville Road, Wilmington.
This is going to be a great night as the featured speaker is Monte Anderson of Wilmington College and the Agricultural Department. Monte recently was inducted into the 2021 Agricultural Hall of Fame for Ohio which is a wonderful honor.
In addition to hearing Monte as the guest speaker, there will be the election of Board of Supervisors, announcement of the Coblenz Scholarship winner and the announcement of the Cooperator of the year.
They always have a wonderful meal at this event and that cost is $12 per person. If you want to just come and listen, that portion of the program is free and open to the public. You can still get your reservations in by calling the Soil and Water Office at 937-382-2461, ext. 2611 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday.
‘Feast or famine’
The band The Eagles has a song, “Waiting in the Weeds”, and the opening lyric is quite fitting with the weather we are having right now.
It talks about the end of August and how the dog days of summer can get so long. If you are like me, the dog days recently have gone into overdrive as temperatures and heat indexes have gotten into the 90s or higher and the humidity has just flat made it uncomfortable for man and beast.
As well in the last few weeks, it has been “feast or famine” with precipitation around Ohio; parts of Butler, Preble, Darke and Mercer counties have begun showing crop stress due to lack of water compounded by the heat stress the last week or so.
Recently, I have evaluated several corn fields not only in Clinton County but around southern Ohio. Wednesday afternoon one of those stops was to evaluate the SW Ohio Corn Growers(SWCG) variety trial planted in Preble County.
This planting looks very good considering that just within a few miles we saw corn and bean fields very stressed by the lack of rain. It was not pretty in some areas of Preble County and yields will be heavily impacted.
It is my understanding there are several areas in and throughout the aforementioned counties that will be impacted by the heat and lack of rain. Only harvest will give us the true scenario of those fields most impacted by Mother Nature.
As I said, we were pleasantly surprised the area of Preble County that is home to SW Ohio Corn Grower plots looked pretty good and potential for some nice yields above 170-180 bushels per acre will be possible if not higher.
As we drove to other SWCG sites we saw some really excellent corn in Pickaway and eastern Ross Counties. Predicted yields in those areas will push well over 200 bushels per acre averages.
Here in Clinton County, fields representing the Blanchester, Sabina and Wilmington areas were evaluated for potential yields and again, some very nice yields were predicted for farms here in Clinton with many yield estimations over 210 bushels per acre.
There are certainly some pollination issues in some fields throughout Clinton County — tips of many ears of corn were blank indicating something happened during pollination. Fields that were planted in April and early May appear to have pollinated very well, however, fields planted in that May 20th time frame (give or take a few days) appear to have more blank ear tips known as “tip back”.
One hypothesis as to why may be the fact that in July 2021, overnight lows were warmer than normal.
According to a report from the University of Nebraska, the survival of developing kernels can be impacted by warm nights during pollination and early grain fill. Higher night-time temperatures increase respiration in the plant which burns photosynthate that should go into grain fill.
Drought stress, loss of leaf area to hail or disease, or lack of nitrogen all result in stress that lowers photosynthesis and so decreases the sugar supply and can be other causes of tip back in corn.
I suggest getting out into your fields and evaluating your yield potential for this falls harvest. Take time to evaluate not only potential yield, but success of pollination and kernel fill.
While you are out there also evaluate for the presence of disease whether you applied a fungicide or not. While scouting the past couple of weeks we have seen Gray Leaf Spot, Some Northern Leaf Blight and some Common Rust.
Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for over 30 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.