College News

Ag Instructor Vic Martin: Summer Crop Update

Great Bend Tribune
Published July 1, 2023

The drought monitor report as of Tuesday, July 4 is essentially unchanged since last week with our area still in extreme drought.  Remember this doesn’t include anything from Tuesday on. The western third of the state has seen the greatest improvement.  The six to ten-day outlook (July 11 to 15) indicates normal to leaning slightly above normal temperatures and a 33 to 50% chance of leaning to above normal precipitation.  The eight to fourteen-day outlook (July 13 to 19) indicates normal to a 33 to 40% chance of leaning to above normal temperatures and normal precipitation.  Not fantastic by if the moisture forecast stays even average, area crops are in decent shape if the extreme heat stays south of us.

Today, we are almost at the halfway point for our summer crops.  Where do we stand, especially compare to the previous two years?

  • We are still, as of today, in extreme drought.  Precipitation for June for most was above average and by the time you read this, we may have seen more substantial precipitation.  Keep in mind though that soil profile in most areas is still dry below the top six inches or so.  This means we will need at a minimum continued average precipitation for crops, especially soybeans and milo.  We also need to avoid excessive heat and stay around our normal average temperatures.
  • One other note to point out is that many of our summer row crop fields as of now have good to very good weed control.  Good crop canopy closure combined with other cultural practices have helped.
  • The corn crop is overall in good to very condition.  Dryland corn is starting to tassel with some even silking.  Irrigated corn also looks good.  If the majority of the crop gets through the next three weeks, much of it will have pollinated and should be heading into the milk stage.  The corn yield as of now looks to be good to very good.  These cooler, more humid nights are exactly what it needs for good pollination.
  • Grain sorghum as of now is also in good shape.  Milo able to head out by the end of July/early August should be in good shape.  Milo can hold off flowering for a bit if conditions deteriorate.  A return to seasonal temperatures next week will help move it along.
  • Soybean fields are also looking good; however, there peak water demand period doesn’t start for a few weeks.  Soybeans are indeterminant and can flower for an extended period of time and has some wiggle room.  The key here are the temperature and moisture conditions in August.  Only time will tell. 
  • Baling alfalfa has been a struggle but this weather has allowed for good dryland production.  The same can be said for other feed crops which have benefitted greatly from recent weather.