COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio's corn crop may be ready for harvest sooner than anticipated.
Peter Thomison, an Ohio State University Extension agronomist, said that a warmer-than-average summer has hastened the development of the crop. Add the dry spell parts of the state are experiencing and the crop has dried down to levels ready for harvesting.
"The crop is at moisture levels right now that we would have been dying for last year. Much of the corn is already in the low 20s," said Thomison. "Growers should consider preparing for harvest now. We typically don't like to drop below 20 percent moisture because of the risk of yield losses."
According to the Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service, 24 percent of the crop is mature, 17 percent higher than the five-year average and 21 percent higher than this time last year.
Thomison said that some growers are already harvesting their crop, but others may wait for the crop to dry down further.
"Farmers are not harvesting their corn, but they could be. For some, it's just earlier than they are accustomed to and they want to wait for the fuller-season corn to mature more to save on energy costs from dry-down," said Thomison, who also holds a research appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.
Thomison recommends that growers carefully watch their fields for dropping ears and stalk lodging, two problems associated with extremely dry weather.
"When you get dry weather and weak plants, shanks may not hold ears well. If those ears start falling off, you have to get out there and flag that field for early harvest," said Thomison. "Dry weather could also contribute to stalk lodging and that could also throw a wrench in the harvest operation."
The rapid crop maturation could potentially impact yields, but for now, the crop conditions and yield outlook are favorable, with 88 percent of the crop in fair to excellent condition and average yields projected at 176 bushels per acre, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Ohio's soybean crop is also maturing quicker than anticipated with 29 percent of the plants dropping leaves, compared to 8 percent last year and 14 percent over the five-year average.
"The soybean crop is struggling in some cases, primarily the later-planted soybeans," said Thomison. "Again, it has to do with the dry weather. The beans haven't had the moisture to fill the beans on the upper nodes. We've got good pod set, but the pods aren't filling, and that will shave off yield potential."
For updates on Ohio's corn and soybean crops, refer to the OSU Extension Agronomic Crops Network C.O.R.N. newsletter at http://corn.osu.edu.