July 19, 2010

Crop update: Nebraska corn silking ahead of average

Sixty percent of Nebraska corn is silking, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today. That's 4 points ahead of the five-year average and 11 points ahead of last year.

Corn in the dough stage stood at 2 percent, which is 2 points behind the average and 1 point behind last year -- although it is certainly early to make much of a comparison. A lot will change over the next 7-10 days.

As for the overall crop condition, USDA said 84 percent of the state's crop is in good to excellent condition, compared to 73 percent two weeks ago and 82 percent last year at this time. Moisture from Mother Nature has been beneficial in some regions -- perhaps even excessive in others -- which has allowed farmers who have irrigation to put it off for some time. In fact, some farmers in south central Nebraska didn't have to irrigate until after the Fourth of July.

For details, click here to visit the Nebraska Corn Board's crop progress update page.

Nationally, USDA said 72 percent of the crop is in good to excellent condition, down 1 point from last week but up 1 point from last year. Silking reached 65 percent nationwide, 18 points ahead of average and a whopping 35 points ahead of last year. Eight percent of the nation's corn crop is in the dough stage, 1 point ahead of average and 4 points ahead of last year.

Every measurement available -- so far -- shows that this year's crop is ahead of last year -- and last year's yields were pretty darn good if you recall. Of course, there is a lot growing season left and certainly it doesn't make sense to count the bushels before they are in the bin -- and some analysts feel that yields will have been topped off nationwide due to excessive moisture. Time will tell!

This week's photos, from the Nebraska Corn Board's crop progress set on Flickr, feature photos submitted by the Imperial FFA chapter (top) and Holdredge FFA chapter (bottom).

The top image shows a closeup of the corn tassel, while the bottom is great shot of corn silking. Pollen from the tassel must fall on the silk to create a kernel of corn on the ear -- with each silk representing a kernel.

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