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Field Notes

NCGA kicks off the tenth season of Field Notes in a new blog format. Check back for quick looks into what real farmers see in terms of crop progress and gain insight into how the crop of 2020 is doing from firsthand sources.

Aug 3, 2020

Iowa and Missouri Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

  “Looking at the same field I have all season before reporting, the corn is tasseled out, has brown silk and the ears filled out nicely. That said, I do have cracks in the ground as there hasn’t been a significant rain here in the month of July. I now have gravel pockets that are starting to yellow, but it is nothing like my friends to the west. They are in a drought so significant it isn’t clear if a rain now would make a great difference in the crop.” – April Hemmes, Iowa farmer     “With our corn, everything looks good here. The kernels are well developed but a long way from dent. Right now, the crop condition is probably good to excellent. We have been lucky to have weather that was really about perfect for this green phase with warmer days and cooler nights.” – Addie Yoder, Missouri farmer

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Jul 27, 2020

Ohio, Minnesota and Kansas Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

“We are glad to know that rain is approaching, and I’m happy for how much we’ve recently. Until last week, we had only had 6/10 of an inch of rain in July. Then, over three days, we got an additional 1 and 8/10 inches. With all of our corn in pollination at some stage, the moisture and slightly less extreme temperatures will help.” – Patty Mann,  Ohio farmer   “We have been receiving some nice rain each week. The corn is looking good. Fully tasseled and looks like the weather is going to cooperate for pollination. Curious to get out and do some yield checks once pollination is done. If we get one more rain in August, we should have a real good corn crop.” – Bryan Biegler, Minnesota farmer   “I would say that our crop would be rated good to excellent. The early planting almost past milk stage. Hopefully, we will be harvesting by mid-September.” – Lowell Neitzel,  Kansas farmer  

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Jul 20, 2020

Illinois and North Dakota Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

  “It has been hot and dry here with less than a tenth of an inch of rain in the past two weeks. The crops are really struggling. The corn looks like it could be okay right now, but it needs rain soon. The soybeans we had to replant, because it was too wet earlier, haven’t gotten rain, and probably won’t come up at all.” – Jim Raben, Illinois farmer   “The corn acres that we did get planted look okay and are starting to tassel. The spots which weren’t water-logged in the spring look pretty good. If we can keep up the heat through August, the corn crop should turn out okay as we haven’t suffered for moisture to this point.”   – Randy Melvin, North Dakota farmer

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Jul 13, 2020

Nebraska and Iowa Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

  “Since last week, we had severe thunderstorms roll through with quite a bit of hail. Crops that were a leaf or two away from tasseling are down to just the stalks. They have no leaves left on them. Plants that were ten-foot-tall are down to my waist. Soybeans were decimated with only the main stem remaining. Our farm was better off than most, but every field has damage.”   – Andy Jobman, Nebraska farmer     “We have had drought in western part of the state and too much wind and water in the eastern. I happen to be in the Goldilocks zone. The forecast looks like we could get half an inch of rain Tuesday and Wednesday, but it looks hot and dry after that. Friends in the western part of Iowa say that if they have one more week of hot, dry conditions, it will be the end of this corn crop.”     – April Hemmes, Iowa farmer

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Jul 6, 2020

Ohio and Nebraska Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

  “We are hot, dry, and begging for rain. We’ve had a few pop-up showers in the area, but our farm hasn’t had rain since a week ago Saturday. With temperatures in the 90s, we are really cooking. I don’t think that the damage to our corn crop is critical yet, but it looks stressed with leaves that roll in the afternoon. As we near pollination, a popup storm this week would improve the situation substantially. We really need that to keep this crop going.”    – Patty Mann, Ohio farmer     “It has been in the 90s for the past ten days, and the forecast says it will almost 100 for the next ten. It hasn’t rained for more than a week, and there’s only the slightest chance it will in the foreseeable future. Honestly, this is the driest year since 2012. On the dryland corners, the corn is only two-foot-tall and rolled up like an onion plant. Thankfully, our farm has good pivots and deep wells. It is hard to keep up under these conditions with just irrigation though. We could...

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Jun 29, 2020

Kansas and Missouri Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

  “The corn is doing very well. It was starting to get pretty dry around here. Then, last weekend, we caught an inch of rain. Last night, we got another ½ inch to an inch depending on the field. The rain gave the corn a shot in the arm, and it looks like it’s doing very well right now.”* - Lowell Neitzel, Kansas farmer (June 25, 2020)   *The evening after Neitzel spoke with us, a heavy rain totaling 4 1/2 inches fell on his farm. The photo shows the impact on a replanted cornfield.     “Our corn crop looks great. It has grown a foot or so since last week. It is that beautiful deep, dark green with the leaves as large as my hand. You can’t even see the rows because it is so full.”   - Addie Yoder, Missouri farmer (June 25, 2020)    

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Jun 22, 2020

Minnesota and Iowa Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

  “I am happy with the way our crop is looking now. It’s between knee- and waist-high and coming along nicely. 75 to 80 percent of corn is in excellent condition. The rains have been spotty. We had 3/10 of an inch of rain yesterday. One mile south, they had a full inch and another mile south 2 ½ inches. So, we’re sitting well on moisture.” – Bryan Biegler, Minnesota farmer   “The crop had been incredible until the last two days. Corn loves the hot and warm temperatures, so it took off over the last week. Neighbors got hail damage. I’m waiting for the rain to stop to survey for damage on my crop. The flooding will drain, so it should recover given how far along the crop is in terms of maturity.” – April Hemmes, Iowa farmer

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Jun 15, 2020

North Dakota and Illinois Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

  “We finished harvesting 2019 corn on June 1. We finished planting 2020 corn, at least what we could, just a hair before that. Now, we’re planting our edible beans. We grow navy and pinto beans. We had two inches of rain about two weeks ago. Today, we’re planting one more field of edible beans, and we’ll hang it up after that. We’ve planted less corn, in terms of the percentages of acres we intended, in 2019. In North Dakota, planting went worse than even last year.” – Randy Melvin, North Dakota farmer     “Our corn looks good. It is anywhere from knee to shoulder high. It is ready to grow, and we’ve finished side dressing.” – Jim Raben, Illinois farmer

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Jun 8, 2020

Ohio and Nebraska Field Notes

  “We’re hoping to finish planting by the end of the week if we get lucky. While there’s a little rain in the forecast for later today, it doesn’t sound like enough to impact us significantly. We will finish planting later than we would like, but it’s better here than it was last year.” - Patty Mann – Ohio farmer (June 3, 2020)     “This week, we’ve been side-dressing corn with fertilizer and herbicides. We’ve only had to irrigate a small bit as we’ve had timely rains. The crop looks really good. We are about average for crop stage, growth and maturity. We had a warm week, so the crop is growing fast.” - Andy Jobman – Nebraska farmer (June 5, 2020)

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Jun 1, 2020

Kansas and Missouri Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

  “Our corn crop is finally getting some heat and starting to get some color again. It’s really healthy and growth is taking off now that it has recovered from the cold snap. Soybean planting is a long way from done, but we are making progress every day.” - Lowell Neitzel, Kansas farmer     “Finally, we got the corn sprayed so that it looks like a field and not a pasture. We will have to replant in the bottom-ground but, overall, it looks pretty good. In some places, there are a few yellow streaks, so it needs some heat.  From what I can tell, USDA would fit it in the good to excellent.” - Addie Yoder, Missouri farmer

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