The heat is on here in Coles County. Spotty showers keep popping up here and there. We were either side of .5 of an inch last week. Corn fungicide is history for our farm, so now the trusty Miller is parked waiting for the May-planted beans to reach R3 - they’re at R2 now. Right now, crops are looking good. The million-dollar question (literally) right now is, “Will the faucet keep dripping out just enough to keep us eeking by, or will it shut off and…?” Well, you know.
The southern part of the county missed the big system that came through Tuesday and, unfortunately, that’s where the rough-looking fields can be found. I spent most of last week up on the high perch of my Miller sprayer putting down fungicide, and the corn looks better overall than when I was sidedressing more than a month ago. There’s still the waterlogged/replant areas that are struggling. They just don’t look as big. We are in the brown silk stage and cleared the pollination hurdle on the vast majority of corn. I have also been going over my April-planted soybeans, which means they have reached the critical R3 stage. The May beans are a ways off with the earliest just getting to R1 flowering. Keep up the rain dances. We are at the point where it needs to keep coming.
It’s a story of the haves and have nots across the Coles County area when you talk about precipitation during the last week. On the west side of the county, it’s pretty dry, while the center to eastern side saw 2 to 3 inches come in pretty quick last Friday (June 30) and a few tenths more Thursday morning. Early-planted cornfields are experiencing good pollinating weather, and many are on the verge of the brown silk stage. Planes and tall sprayers have already started applying fungicide. In my fields, it appears that the usual fungus is among us, and unless we turn off real hot and dry, it’s not going to just go away. Soybean fields are looking good as April-planted fields are in the R1 to R2 stages, and May-planted fields are nearing the last vegetative stages.
The talk of the week among neighbors and friends from across the state is definitely that no one has ever seen the corn tassel at this short of a height. In our earliest planted fields, I’m looking at corn around my average, full-grown male height (5’10”) with 10 visible collars, and at this point, sporadic tassels shooting out. The good news is that during the last two weeks both crops have grown to look much better, but still far from perfect. With some showers coming during this long Independence Day weekend (Happy Birthday, America!) followed by good temperatures, the situation in the fields looks good for now. That said, this crop is going to need near-perfect weather from here to the finish line to fill a lot of bins next fall.