McPherson, Kan.

I put off writing this report so I could include rainfall totals. Unfortunately, we missed the forecasted rains over the weekend of July 20. We haven’t had a decent rain on our farm since July 3 and the totals were all a half inch or less. The previous week really put stress on the crops with 100-plus temps and 20-plus mph winds.

Luckily, this coming week is offering some relief from the heat but unfortunately not the lack of moisture. The early planted dryland corn is finally showing some drought stress for the first time this season. Up until now, you couldn’t see much of a visual difference from a distance between the dryland and irrigated crops, but this past week changed that. Hybrids, soil types, and farming practices became evident in how the corn handled the heat and wind. Some of the full tillage corn in the area started to fire up and was significantly hurt, but in general the corn just looks like typical central Kansas corn in mid-July. The corn is going to need a rain soon or it may still end up in a silage pile; if it does go to silage, it should really ton out well.

The irrigated corn looks decent and ear size looks to be good with most ears 16-18 around. For the most part, it pollinated well but I am seeing some skipped kernels within the ear. We are having a little bit of gray leaf spot show up. The GLS is at low levels but I have an irrigated corn-on-corn field that I sprayed with a fungicide to knock out the GLS and to help with southern rust that is likely to show up later in the season.

Seed dealers don’t like to hear this, and based on planting choices most farmers don’t either, but I believe years like this are why it’s important to still have sorghum in your planting mix. While the dryland corn acres were being severely stressed this pass week, the sorghum acres handled it well. Assuming the rains start back up again, the sorghum will be in prime position to take advantage of it. I understand a lot of guys got scared off by sugar cane aphid, but I think that threat has been minimized with hybrid selections and by beneficial insects when using biologicals (Heligen) or wormicides (prevathon) to manage headworms.

The soybeans, like the sorghum, also seemed to take the heat well, but double cropped or late planted replant acres have stalled out in dry soil. We struggled to get our fields sprayed with Xtend due to uncooperative wind and neighboring acres restrictions, but where we did, control looks good. I have noticed over the past several years the beans within the Xtend platform really appear to take drought stress well.

Local cash basis: Wheat -40; corn -38; soybeans -114; milo -80. — Adam Baldwin