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The points of contact between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and the grower & business communities are the NJ County Agricultural Agents. The agents are a tremendous source of information for both new and experienced growers.
Visit your local county extension office.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Drought/Heat Stressed Crops?

While some have had too much rain recently, many others are suffering throught various levels of drought and/or heat stress. Field corn is particularly vulnerable from 2 weeks before tasseling to 2 weeks after pollination, a stage which most of our corn is in now. We are already seeing "protandry" in a few fields, a condition where tassels emerge and shed pollen but there are no silks to pollinate. Soybeans and alfalfa based hays are not suffering as much so those with irrigation should be giving full attention to corn. If irrigation is limited and you have crop insurance, consult your agent before deciding to irrigate certain fields or parts thereof and abandon others. For those without irrigation about all you can do is plan to manage economic consequences. Research suggests that for every 4 hours of leaf rolling at pollination time 1% yield is lost and if 4 or more consecutive days at 93F temperatures or above (even with water) a 1% yield loss occurs and doubles for a time thereafter with more consecutive days. About 2 weeks from now strip back some husks and see if you have any seed set. If ears are somewhat to mostly barren, consult your crop insurance agent before doing anything. We will offer "salvaging" information, should those conditions occur, as well as suggestions regarding crop rotation.
Zane Helsel