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The best crop ever?

By Staff | Aug 14, 2009

If the Asmus Farm Supply test plot on the Joe Greig farm east of Estherville is any indication, Emmet County could be in for a record corn crop this year. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

“Right now we’re probably looking at the best crop we’ve ever had in the county,” Emmet County Farm Services Agency Director Larry Niles said Thursday.

Niles’ comments came on the heels of a report Wednesday in which soybeans were predicted to hit a new high yield with corn hitting its second-highest yield ever.

Niles said extra heat units the last three or four days greatly improved the outlook for Emmet County soybeans. He said though that nighttime temperatures still have to stay over 60 degrees for the outlook for solid yields to continue. And, if the county can avoid an early frost, that should help ensure a record soybean crop in the county, Niles said.

While daytime temperatures haven’t been as high as in previous years, Niles said improved seed withstands both drought and moisture better, making for better yields regardless of weather. Still, like soybeans, corn will need 60-degree nights or better for maximum yield, Niles said.

A good shot of three-tenths to four-tenths of an inch of rain Thursday couldn’t have come at a better time either.

“That was very beneficial,” Niles said.

Niles said the record 181-bushel average yield in 2004 could be met with a normal frost date and warm days and nights.

“I think Iowa is in the heart of the best of it,” Niles said, with the state producing a sixth of the nation’s corn. Illinois, which traditionally produces another sixth, had a late, wet spring that held up planting.

Niles sees lower corn prices – less than half of what they were a year ago – as well as increasing demand for corn by ethanol producers as well.

“I imagine that ethanol demand will improve a little bit,” Niles said.