Prospects for Indiana Grain Crops Continue to Fade – Purdue Experts
As rain is forecast to continue falling for the next two weeks, the chances for recovery for Indiana’s flooded grain crops are becoming increasingly less optimistic according to Bob Nielsen, corn expert with Purdue Extension.
As some plants have been in standing water for up to three weeks without giving the plants’ root a chance to regenerate, both corn and soybeans are not expected to make a good showing this season. Heavy downpours since the beginning of June across the Midwest have flooded fields, cutting off oxygen to the crops’ roots, eventually killing them.
If the crops can receive a string of warm, dry weather root regeneration would be possible. “It is the rate and extent of that fresh root development that largely determines whether a waterlogged field will recover ‘strongly’ or not,” Nielsen said.
“I have been optimistic with my assessment, based on the possibility that the weather would moderate,” said Nielsen. “But every subsequent downpour pushes a few more fields off the cliff.”
Under such conditions, growers are trying to decide whether to invest in the cost of nitrogen-based fertilizer applications. For struggling soybeans, applying nitrogen during the early reproductive phase of growth could be highly beneficial, however, “It’s hard to know whether you need a lot of nitrogen for these little corn plants,” said, soil fertility specialist, Jim Camberato. “It’s hard to tell if the return on investment is there.”