Hot, humid weather has given the corn crop in northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota a boost in development.
“This type of weather is really favorable when it comes to corn growth,” said Angie Peltier, University of Minnesota Extension Service regional crops educator in Crookston. “Our rows are starting to close. We have a nice canopy, which is really important. The goal for looking down at a corn crop from up above is you shouldn’t see any ground.”
Corn fields will need continued warm temperatures and rain so they will be developed before a freeze. Cold, wet weather this spring delayed planting of the corn crop in northwest Minnesota, and most of the corn has not yet tasseled, Peltier said.
“In order to reach any of these milestones, we need to accumulate heat units. It needs the heat of the sun for the enzymes inside of it to grow and develop,” she said.
Statewide in Minnesota, 2% of the corn crop had silked as of the week ending on Sunday, according to the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service. That was 10% behind the five-year average, the statistics service reported. Corn was rated 58% good to excellent.
Hot, humid conditions also have spurred soybean growth.
“The soybeans in the Crookston area are looking a lot better,” Peltier said. “In the last 10 days, they’ve grown about 6 inches-plus. Rows are starting to close. Soybeans are flowering or beginning to put on pods.”
Statewide, 16% of Minnesota’s soybean crop had started blooming, 11 days behind average, the statistics service said. The state’s soybean crop was rated 60% good to excellent.
While the heat is helping the corn and soybean crops catch up on development, it is taking a toll on wheat. It’s likely that the hot temperatures have reduced yields, said Jochum Wiersma, University of Minnesota regional extension service educator.
“It’s warm for wheat, so we’re probably losing a little bit off of the top,” Wiersma said.
Minnesota’s wheat crop, as a whole, was rated 85% good to excellent, the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service said.
In North Dakota’s Walsh County, some crops were suffering from lack of rain.
“We have some crops that are really going down fast,” said Brad Brummond, Walsh County extension agent.
Wheat in some areas of the county has been stunted by lack of rain and is shorter than it should be, he said. Other crops that have suffered from lack of rain include potatoes and soybeans in the Park River and Hoople areas.
Statewide, North Dakota’s wheat crop was rated 69% good and 9% excellent; potatoes were rated 67% good and 13% excellent and soybeans were rated 62% good and 7% excellent as of the week ended on Sunday, the North Dakota Agricultural Statistics Service said.
Despite the lack of rain, the corn crop in Walsh County looks good, Brummond said.
“Right now, the crop is hanging in there because it’s rooted down,” he said.
The corn condition statewide in North Dakota was rated 67% good and 10% excellent, the North Dakota Agricultural Statistics Service said. Corn silking, at 1% was behind 29% last year and the average of 15%.
Grasshoppers also remain a problem in Walsh County areas where moisture is short.
“We’re still fighting them,” Brummond said.
While central Walsh County is dry, other parts of the county have received rain.
“West and north got an inch of rain on Sunday,” said Brummond, adding that rain also fell east and north of Highway 81 along the Red River.
Even in those areas, the rainfall has been spotty.
“It just depends where the cloud is. The amount of rainfall varies tremendously in a mile, a mile and a half,” Brummond said.