While the USDA is projecting a record corn harvest, one expert with the University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension says that forecast likely will not apply here.
Climatologist Al Dutcher says he has “serious doubts” the corn crop in the Husker State will even come close to the projections.
“We have a fairly good idea there were some problems with this crop,” Dutcher says. “The areas that probably are going to have the worst yields in relation to their actual averages would be the southeastern portions of east-central Nebraska. The other area in terms of irrigated where we’ve seen a lot of problems starting to creep up is, of course, south-central and central Nebraska.”
While some areas of eastern Nebraska got very generous rains in recent months, some regions of the state remained extremely dry and the corn crop will pay the price.
“South-central Nebraska really missed out on a lot of the precipitation events that hit eastern Nebraska,” Dutcher says. “We had a small pocket of drought that materialized and actually reached a D2 classification, which is a severe drought.”
The weather simply hasn’t cooperated this season, Dutcher says, as some areas got too much rain and others not enough, while the triple-digit temperatures during June were also a big detriment to the crop.
“Many of the reports we were having was due to the excessive heat in the canopy in our irrigated acreages,” Dutcher says. “We’ve heard everything from weird-shaped ears, half-pollinated on one side, pollinated on the other side, a whole host of problems. Whether or not this is going to significantly pull down our yield remains to be in question.”
June is a critical time for corn plant development and some areas of the state had temperatures exceeding the 90-degree mark for 10-to-20 days during the month.