Weathering the storms

THIS CORN FIELD NORTH OF TRACY took the brunt of a wind that included gusts between 50-60 mph last Monday. Photo / Per Peterson

It’s been a tough year on the corn crop, which has withstood heavy rains, some ponding and strong winds … and that was just last week

By Per Peterson

This year’s better-late-than-never planting season has resulted in another late harvest. And last Monday’s storm that included 50-plus mph winds in the area didn’t do farmers itching to get back into the fields any favors.

U of M Extension Educator Liz Stahl said it’s been a rough year on both corn and soybeans because of a combination of an overabundance of rain and strong winds, including those that blew through the area last Monday.

“Early in the season, there was some wind damage to corn, and, of course, as it sits in the field there’s always that concern about how long it can stand before you can get out there and harvest,” Stahl said. “Stalk quality is really becoming an issue. Corn was stressed early in the year because there was so much water, so there are a lot of questions about stalk quality, insects, disease.”

Jerry Beck, a consultant with CHS Tracy, is optimistic last week’s wind didn’t do too much damage to the corn crop.

“Most of it, you’re seeing tops broken — as long as it’s broke off above the ear, it’s fine. If it’s below the ear, it creates a problem for harvest.”

Of course, the longer the corn sits in the field, the more potential there is for major problems. Stahl said corn can typically handle strong winds pretty well — during the summer growing season. At this stage, all bets are off as to how corn will bounce back after heavy winds. Ear droppage leads to lost yields, and Stahl said some fields might not fare well whenever the corn harvest finally does kick into high gear.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.