Figure 1. Major soil associations (colored polygons) in Washington County were used to segment the crop condition report due to differences in soil texture, drainage, and topography.
In this report, I will use the definitions used by USDA-NASS for crop conditions:
General crop conditions. The county’s entire crop should be assigned a percentage by category, with the total of the categories equal to 100 percent. Categories are defined as follows:
- Very Poor – Extreme loss of yield potential; complete or near complete crop failure.
- Poor – Heavy loss of yield potential due to excessive soil moisture, drought, disease, etc.
- Fair – Less than normal crop conditions. Yield loss is a possibility, but is not severe.
- Good – Yield prospects are normal or better. Moisture levels are adequate with minimal disease and insect damage.
- Excellent – Yield prospects are above normal and crops are experiencing little, if any, stress.
Figure 2. Driving route for the June 9, 2015 Washington Crop Condition Tour.
Central Loess Hills (Kennard)
The growth and development of corn ranged from V3 to V5 – five visible collars (corn growth stages) in the Central Loess Hills (Figure 3). A majority of the corn crop was in good condition.
Soybean planting and replanting in portions was completed along the route with soybeans ranging from germination to V2 (link to soybean growth stages) and averaging in the VC growth stage (Figure 4). The soybean crop was in fair to good condition due to delayed planting into late May and early June (Figure 5) that has reduced the yield potential of this year’s crop.
The first cutting of alfalfa was already down (Figure 6) on most fields and there was good regrowth in some fields cut earlier.
Figure 3. Representative dryland or rainfed corn in the Central Loess Hills at the V4-V5 growth stage planted in 30-inch rows with 28,000 plants acre under conventional tillage.
Figure 4. Representative rainfed soybeans in the Central Loess Hills at the VC growth stage no-till planted in 15-inch rows with 129,000 plants per acre.
Figure 5. Late-planted soybeans in June due to the high frequency (every 2-4 days) of rainfall events in the area will limit yield potential.
Figure 6. Most alfalfa fields have already been mowed for first cutting and some fields are already showing good regrowth in the Central Loess Hills northwest of Kennard.
Steep Rolling Hills and Bluffs (Blair)
The corn crop ranged in growth stage from V3 to V6 and was in good condition. Some early planted dryland or rainfed corn on 20-inch rows was in excellent condition with a stand of 31,000 plants per acre (Figure 7). Similar to the Central Loess Hills, average plant populations for rainfed corn were 28,000 to 31,000 plants/acre.
Soybeans ranged from recently planted to the V2 growth stage with most soybeans at the VC growth stage. One soybean field on 20-inch rows had a final stand of 142,000 plants/acre (Figure 8). At the V2 growth stage, soybean roots now have nodules and are receiving nitrogen from the symbiotic relationship (Figure 9). To read more about nitrogen fixation in soybeans and the when, where, and why of inoculation, read this CropWatch article.
Figure 7. Rainfed no-till planted corn in 20-inch rows following soybeans at the V6 or 6 collar growth stage with a stand of 31,000 plants/acre in the Steep Rolling Hills and Bluffs along the Missouri River.
Figure 8. Soybeans planted in 20-inch rows after corn with conventional tillage at the V2 growth stage and 142,000 plants per acre.
Figure 9. Nodules formed on roots of V2 growth stage soybeans and active nitrogen fixation starts taking place.
Missouri River Valley (Herman)
Corn growth stages ranged from VE-V6 and from very poor to good condition along the route. Late and replanted corn was evident throughout the river valley on poorly drained soils (Figure 10). However corn fields and portion of fields under less saturated conditions were in good condition as this one was with 29,000 plants per acre at the V5 growth stage (Figure 11).
Producers were actively preparing fields and planting soybeans on Tuesday. However, a significant portion of the valley still needs to be planted (Figure 12). Simply put, the struggle is real! Soybeans have emerged including in this no-till planted field (previous crop was soybeans) on 30-inch rows with current stand of 142,000 plants per acre (Figure 13).
Figure 10. Late-planted rainfed corn (due to wet weather and poorly drained soils) at the VE-V1 growth stage and a stand of 30,000 plants per acre.
Figure 11. Irrigated conventional tilled corn in good condition along the route at V5 growth stage with a stand of 29,000 plants per acre
Figure 12. A significant portion of the soybean crop not yet planted due to wet weather in the Missouri River Valley.
Figure 13. Soybeans no-till planted after soybeans in 30-inch rows emerged with a stand of 142,000 plants per acre.
Western Loess Hills and Bell Creek (Telbasta & Arlington)
Corn growth and development ranged from V3-V5 and was in fair to good condition in the Western Loess Hills (Figure 14 & 15) of . Corn in the Bell Creek bottom was in very poor to good condition due to saturated soil and loss of corn plants. Some portion of fields have been replanted in the Bell Creek.
After last years hail storm, failed corn was replanted to soybeans in some fields in northwest Washington County. To keep in normal rotation and balanced acres of corn to soybeans, numerous fields were planted back to soybeans this year (Figure 16). Soybean ranged from not yet planted to V3 growth stage. The soybean plant populations (Field 1 = 116k, Field 2 = 128k, Field 3 = 127k) across the area were all higher than 100,000 plants per acre desired to achieve high yields based on Nebraska On-Farm Research.
Figure 14. Rainfed no-till corn after soybeans at the V3 growth stage with stand of 32,000 plants per acre.
Figure 15. Conventional tilled irrigated corn after corn at the V5 growth stage at 33,000 plants per acre.
Figure 16. Rainfed no-till soybeans after soybeans at the VC-V1 growth stage with a stand of 116,000 plants per acre.
Figure 17. Rainfed no-till soybeans after corn planted in 15 inch rows at the VC growth stage with a stand of 127,000 plants per acre.
Agronomic issues for this next week
- Critical period of weed controls starts at V5-V6 through V9 growth stage. Delayed one growth stage past V5 can cause a loss of $7 per acre this year. Know your weed species, height, and corn growth stage for timely post-emergence herbicide application on corn.
- Scout for corn seedling nutrient deficiencies (N, P, K, S, Zn). Take soil and plant samples in good versus bad areas.
- The critical period of weed control starts at V1 in 30″ rows and V2 in 15″ rows. Delaying weed controls every 3-4 days past these stages can cause a loss of $9 per acre this year. Stay on top of early post emergence applications as best you can given the wet weather.
- Look for damping off or seedling diseases. How did your fungicide seed treatment perform?
- Take stand counts and to determine what percent of planted seed emerged. Did less than 80% of what you planted emerge?