By Emily Bialkowski
An ultra soggy spring, coupled with what the National Weather Service is describing as a flash drought in late summer, has many wondering what the fall harvest will look like. Here, UW-Extension Educator Jerry Tesmer answers a few questions.
Q. What is the overall outlook for crop yields this fall?
A. Highly variable; corn was planted May 2, two weeks later on May 14, again two weeks later on June 2, and finally some was planted the last week of June. It’s like we have four different crops out there. Generally, the first two are good, June 2 may be debatable for quality, and the late June is likely to be chopped as corn silage.
Q. Disastrous spring rains and a dry summer has had to have impacted production – can you speak to that?
A. Yields in the last crop of hay have really plummeted; some of the later planted corn may end up with light test weight kernels.
Q. What kind of comments are you hearing from local producers?
A. In addition to the lower hay yields, pastures have been drying up. It may mean starting to feed winter hay supplies earlier to beef cows. In many cases there was little or no carryover from last year.
Q. I’ve read diseases have developed in Minnesota corn and soybean fields in early August – is that a concern for southeastern Minnesota?
A. White mold may be an issue in soybean fields. Also called Sclerotinia stem rot, white mold is present throughout most of the northern states. It can cause significant damage in infested fields.
Q. How does all this effect livestock producers?
A. There will be more corn chopped as corn silage to cover hay shortfalls, and prices are likely to remain high for hay for another year. If additional corn silage is chopped it may mean purchasing additional corn for feed grain or having less to sell. Either way it affects the cash flow.