The latest USDA report finds the high temperatures and humidity are good for developing corn and soybean fields in Nebraska, but farmers are concerned the extreme conditions in this critical month of August may damage the 2010 crop.
Some soybean growers are seeing what’s called “sudden death syndrome” in their fields which have been too wet and too humid for too long. It’s a fungus disease moving across the Midwest, according to field agronomist Paul Kassel, who says it’ll cut yields.
“It’s a root and stem rot. That’s been showing up in some large areas,” Kassel says. “That’s going to hurt some fields, some locations quite a bit.”
The USDA rates the Nebraska soybean crop 77% good or excellent, along with 82% of the corn crop. About 99% of Nebraska’s wheat crop has now been harvested.
Kassel notes, some of the largest corn harvests in history have occured in years when the temperatures in August have been cool.
“I know we have advances in biotechnology and that type of thing but still, a corn plant likes it a little cool in August,” Kassel says, “so that’s a little bit of a concern.”
While humans find these humid days of August tough, Kassel says the humidity helps the corn tolerate the heat.