Corn down, soybeans up and cotton yields undecided|[8/29/06]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Corn yields are down less sharply than expected as a dry summer ends and it’s still wait-and-see when is comes to cotton.

John Coccaro, Warren County Extension Service director, said yields for soybeans are showing up well.

Rainfall has been erratic through the season for spring-planted crops.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

May measured &#8220normal” and July a bit above normal. June, however, was about half normal. So far in August, not including showers this morning, rainfall is about an inch below normal.

The 2005 corn yield in Warren County was 41 bushels per acre.

&#8220I was thinking we would be lucky to get about half,” Coccaro said, adding he was surprised to see the yield between 20 bushels and 30 bushels per acre. &#8220Some is higher than that.”

Better yields were from sandy soil around Eagle Lake. He said it was easy to tell where the sandy soil ended and the heavy clays began on farmers’ land.

Another pleasant surprise, Coccaro said, was the lack of the fungus aflatoxin in corn this year. He said the poison normally shows up when the crop is under stress such as drought, but the only report in Mississippi has come from Noxubee County.

Soybeans are also showing up better than he expected, Coccaro said, again depending on the soil where they were planted.

Although the harvest of cotton has hardly started, Coccaro said from what he’s determined just looking at the plants, the yield should only be a bit below average, probably in the range of 650 to 750 pounds per acre. The normal for this area is generally two bales per acre, or between 850 pounds and 900 pounds.

&#8220Some of the real strong soil around Eagle Lake probably will make two bales,” he said.

Although cotton is a hot-weather crop and can do well in dry years, he said high temperatures at night can prevent cotton from recovering so it can stand the stress of another hot day. Humidity can also be a stress factor.

&#8220We’ve had some hot and humid days,” he said.

Coccaro said the timing of rains helped soybeans planted after wheat, planted in the fall, was harvested in the spring .

&#8220Normally (beans following wheat) don’t do well,” he said. &#8220They caught a lot of rain at the correct time,” he said.

The Mississippi State University’s Office of Agricultural Communications said the better conditions in Warren County do not extend for the rest of the state.

According to Bart Freeland, physical scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture weather facility in Stoneville, many crops in the state got enough rain early but when June and July rolled around and soybeans were filling pods and cotton was filling bolls, the rain just did not come.

Some parts of the Delta are running more than a 10-inch deficit.

He said the period from March to July was the second-driest in Mississippi since they began keeping records in 1895 and June and July were the 10th driest on record.

The dry weather has also affected the Mississippi River. The river remained at a reading of 1.7 feet on the Vicksburg gauge for the second day in a row. The normal for this time of year is about 9.5 feet.

The record low on the Vicksburg gauge for this time of year was 2.5 feet below the zero mark on the local gauge.