March 28, 2023

Harvested corn acres down; winter wheat acres up

Temperatures had a big, adverse impression on corn yields, whereas skyrocketing enter prices compelled many Arkansas farmers to rethink rising the crop through the 2022 season. Summer time drought and early fall compelled many farmers to irrigate which drove enter prices increased.

Arkansas farmers harvested 690,000 of the 710,000 acres of corn planted in 2022, based on estimates from the U.S. Division of Agriculture’s Nationwide Agricultural Statistics Service. The variety of acres planted was down 16.5% from final 12 months. The state common yield was 176 bushels per acre, down 4.3% from the prior 12 months’s 183 bushels per acre.

Jason Kelley, College of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture professor and wheat and feed grains extension agronomist, mentioned the drought and excessive temperatures hit at an important level for corn growers.

“For corn, the pollination interval could be very essential for the plant to have water and that lined up proper after we have been attempting to get began on irrigation,” Kelley mentioned. “It was a troublesome 12 months. Irrigation is efficient, however it’s by no means as efficient as an excellent, widespread rain.”

Kelley mentioned the climate from Memorial Day to July 4th considerably impacts corn yields, and that point was scorching and dry this 12 months. Although about 95% of the state’s corn acres could be irrigated, the drought and warmth nonetheless took a toll on yields, he mentioned. Farmers struggled to get corn irrigated well timed as a result of, in lots of cases, they have been additionally attempting to flood rice and irrigate soybeans.

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For the previous 10 years, Arkansas has averaged 181 bushels per acre. Kelley mentioned the state’s common yields have elevated by 100 bushels per acre up to now 40 years by a mixture of higher farming practices, extra irrigation, improved hybrids and extra vitamins.

“On common, we’re gaining about 2.5 bushels per acre a 12 months,” Kelley mentioned. “We’re significantly better growers now than we have been 20, 30, 40 years in the past. On the identical time, when you took these hybrids we had 40 years in the past and planted them this 12 months, the yields can be significantly lower than the hybrids we’re rising now.”

Kelley mentioned the drought and excessive temperatures have been the 2 predominant culprits of the state’s corn yield lower.

Many farmers additionally rotate corn with soybeans, which helps enhance yields and reduce plant illnesses. Kelley mentioned the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station’s Lon Man Cotton Analysis Station in Marianna is wrapping up a 10-year examine that reveals soybean yields improved by 7 to eight bushels per acre in a corn-soybean rotation in comparison with steady soybean.

Though gas prices have been increased in 2022, fertilizer costs noticed an excellent steeper improve, which harm revenue margins. Kelley mentioned fertilizer usually accounts for 30% or extra of the prices to develop corn due to its excessive nutrient demand.

“Fertilizer costs hit the corn farmer greater than anyone simply due to the quantity of fertilizer we sometimes apply,” Kelley mentioned. “The grain value is a fairly good quantity at round $7 a bushel. Yields have been just a little down, however when you take a look at the worth, they nonetheless ought to come out OK.”

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Kelley mentioned it was an excellent harvest for Arkansas corn despite the fact that the farmers needed to work more durable to get their yields due to the drought and better gas and fertilizer costs.

About 80% of the state’s corn crop has Bt varieties developed for enhanced insect safety utilizing naturally occurring micro organism referred to as Bacillus thuringiensis. The bacterial species is innocent to people and different mammals, however targets caterpillars thought of corn pests like corn borers and corn earworms. Nonetheless, about 15% of the state’s corn is taken into account “standard” and doesn’t provide the identical safety. Kelley mentioned late-planted standard corn was particularly vulnerable to corn-borers.

Whereas Palmar amaranth “pigweed” continues to be controllable in most Arkansas corn fields with atrazine and glyphosate, Kelley mentioned annual ryegrass continues to be a significant weed drawback for Arkansas corn growers. Ryegrass, which has change into immune to glyphosate and survives Arkansas’ delicate winters, will get in the best way for a lot of farmers when it’s time to plant in March.

“Ryegrass is difficult to manage in that a part of the 12 months, particularly within the southern half of the state,” Kelley mentioned. “For those who’re attempting to kill it in January earlier than planting, it competes superb with corn, so corn planted into a whole lot of ryegrass goes to wrestle.”

Tar spot, which might lower yields by 20 to 60 bushels per acre in corn, has but to be reported in Arkansas. Nonetheless, Kelley mentioned the fungal illness appears to be getting nearer annually. Stories point out the illness has been recognized in close by states, together with Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and several other different Midwestern and Southern states.

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Arkansas elevated its 2022 winter wheat crop by 4.3%, planting 220,000 acres final fall. The state attained a median yield of 53 bushels per acre from an estimated 150,000 acres harvested, up 5,000 acres from the 2021 harvest, NASS reported. Kelley mentioned it could have been extra if heavy rains in April and shut to reap in June and July had not hampered yields and harvested acres.

Kelley mentioned good grain costs and a comparatively dry fall possible inspired farmers to plant extra winter wheat this 12 months for a 2023 harvest. The 2022/23 season-average farm value is projected at a document $9.20 per bushel. The September farm value reported within the NASS Agricultural Costs publication was $8.85, up from $8.55 within the earlier month and barely increased than $7.75 in September 2021.

Early estimates are that winter wheat acres in Arkansas will probably be up 25% to 30% from final 12 months, Kelley mentioned. The ultimate numbers will probably be out there in January.