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Indiana’s Corn Crop Vulnerable To Hot, Dry Conditions

Corn is taking a hit early this summer as temperatures have risen to the mid-90s on some days.

Young corn

Photo: Sanden (Flickr)

Young corn does not have the root system to withstand very dry conditions.

The weather this spring is taking a toll on Indiana corn farmers as near record breaking heat and dry conditions are hurting corn produce.

Indiana Corn Marketing Council’s Megan Kuhn says corn growth is ahead of where it normally is this time of year because the mild spring allowed farmers to plant early.

“We were 96 percent emerged, corn actually up out of the ground last week, compared to 36 percent last year, and about 60 percent on a 5-year average,” she says. “So that’s a lot more corn up and growing, at this time.”

That means the corn plants are at a crucial stage right now. Purdue Agronomy Professor Bob Nielsen says their root systems are not fully developed but they also are no longer relying on the nutrients from their seeds, making them extremely vulnerable to hot temperatures and dry soil.

“The root system on these young plants is relatively shallow compared to a full sized plant so it’s not exploring as much of the soil,” he says. “And of course that shallow part of the soil profile is the part that’s drying out the fastest.”

Agriculture experts say the crop should bounce back as long as there is rain throughout the summer. They also say it is too early to make predictions about the effects consumers and farmers.

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