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August 2004 Archives

Harvesting lodged corn

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(revised Sept 1)
Dale R. Hicks
University of Minnesota

We talked about harvesting the wind lodged corn in southwest MN at meetings in Luverne and Adrian and discussed harvesting in one direction and leaving one row unit empty to guide the combine. I have learned a lot about harvesting down corn since then and thought the information might be useful to those with down corn.

After the meetings, Mr. Herald Barton called to tell me about the Corn Shield and how it reduces combine losses. Mr. Barton is a corn grower from Silver Lake, MN. He designed and has tested the Corn Shield for several years and has a lot of experience harvesting lodged corn. I have talked with him and farmers who have used the Corn Shield on their combines. I believe corn growers with lodged corn should consider getting this attachment.

Paul Peterson, Jim Linn, and Dale Hicks
University of Minnesota Extension Service

Frost touched much of the state's corn and soybean acreage this past weekend. The degree to which the frost was a killing frost varies considerably, but a complete killing frost appears to have been the exception, not the rule. Where frost injury occurred without complete kill, it is too early to consider forage harvest because additional yield and forage quality accumulation is likely from surviving plant parts. However, where these crops were/are completely killed by frost before reaching optimum grain or even forage harvest maturity, harvesting as forage is a viable option. In addition, based on the delayed maturation of corn and soybeans to date, chances are good that there will many acres of these crops that will receive a killing frost before reaching maturity, so harvest as forage may still be one of the better options as the growing season plays out.

Bill Wilcke
Extension Engineer

Unusually cool growing season weather and early frosts can lead to wet, immature, and frost-damaged corn. This publication describes some of the harvest conditions you can expect after a cold, short growing season and some possible steps to deal with the crops that result from such a growing season.

Mark Seeley
Extension Climatologist, University of Minnesota

On three consecutive mornings, August 19-21, record or near record low temperatures were reported around Minnesota. Some resulted in damaging ground frosts, while others resulted in a hard freeze, all but ending the growing season for some crops.

Some of the temperature reports included:

Thursday, August 19 th, new record low temperatures were reported from the following locations:









  • International Falls 36 F


  • Duluth 37 F



  • Little
    Falls 35 F



  • Tower 25 F



  • Orr 37 F



  • Embarrass
    27 F



  • La Crosse, WI 46 F




  • Olivia 37 F

  • Sioux Falls, SD 39 F

  • Willmar
    39 F

  • Fargo, ND 39 F

  • Pine River 37 F (tied)

  • Madison 36 F


  • Wadena 36 F

  • Crookston 37 F

  • Park
    Rapids 36 F

  • Thief River Falls 37

  • Waseca 40 F


Friday morning, August 20th brought even more frost to many sections of northern Minnesota. Numerous new record lows were set all around the state. Those locations reporting freezing temperatures or nearby ground frost conditions included the following:









  • International Falls 33 F

  • Cook 30 F

  • Hibbing 35
    F

  • Pine River 34 F

  • Aitkin 32 F

  • Bemidji 35 F

  • Floodwood
    31 F

  • Littlefork 32 F

  • Babbitt 32 F


  • Kabetogama 33 F

  • Isabella 32 F

  • Tower 23 F

  • Embarrass
    23 F

  • Grand Forks, ND 32 F

  • Fargo, ND 34 F

  • Crookston
    32 F


  • Wadena 34 F

  • Hallock 30 F

  • Thief River Falls 30 F

  • Park Rapids 32 F

  • Baudette
    35 F

  • Brandon, Manitoba 32 F



And finally, on Saturday, August 21 st yet more freezing temperatures, ground frosts and new low temperature records were reported from the following:









  • Crookston 35 F

  • Karlstad 35 F

  • Red Lake 36 F

  • Int.
    Falls 32 F

  • Itasca 32 F

  • Hibbing 27 F

  • Park
    Rapids 35 F

  • Wadena 37 F

  • Grand Rapids 32 F



  • Montevideo 32 F

  • Milan 34 F

  • Madison 30 F

  • Morris
    35 F

  • St Cloud 33 F

  • Willmar 36 F

  • Olivia 36 F

  • Aitkin 35
    F

  • Staples 33 F

  • Brainerd 32 F



  • Chaska 36 F

  • Lamberton 35 F

  • Worthington 36 F

  • Waseca
    37 F

  • Lakefield 37 F

  • Pipestone 36 F

  • Preston 35 F

  • Theilman
    35 F

  • Grand Meadow 35 F



Yes, we have had frequent intrusions of high latitude arctic air masses this summer thanks to the persistent position and strength of a continental polar vortex. This makes us all nervous about early frost probabilities for a very slow developing crop. Find below a chronology of August frosts reported south to north along the Red River Valley...

  • Ada, MN (3 years) 8/31/1895, 8/21/1920, and 8/30/1931
  • Crookston, MN (3 years) 8/28/1893, 8/13/1964, and 8/28/1965
  • Thief River Falls (3 years) 8/26/1915, 8/30/1930, and 8/27/1982
  • Argyle, MN (six years) 8/25/1934, 8/31/1935, 8/13/1964, 8/28/1965, 8/27/1982, and 8/27/1986
  • Hallock, MN (8 years) 8/29/1915, 8/21/1920, 8/24/1923, 8/23/1927, 8/28/1934, 8/31/1935, 8/18/1942, and 8/27/1982

So at least for northern counties there is certainly precedent for such temperatures in August, though they are unusual. In southern counties it is exceptionally rare to see freezing temperatures in August, though not entirely unseen in the climate record. Witness Pipestone had frost on August 11, 1902 and again on August 23, 1987.

Though the microclimate effect weighs heavily on the occurrence of frost, notice some common years for all.....the summers (May through August) of 1895, 1915, 1923, 1942, 1965, and 1982 were all in the colder end of the distribution historically, just as the summer of 2004 has been. Although we are expected to average a bit warmer than normal between now and the first week of September, the Climate Prediction Center forecasts a cooler than normal month of September for Minnesota. This translates to a high likelihood for immature crops of relatively high moisture content. The prospect of making up for lost Growing Degree Days (GDD) is dim. The table below summarizes the cumulative GDD for field corn (modified base 50/86 method) over a series of planting dates that is representative of the calendar window when most of the state's nearly 7 million acres of corn were sown this spring. The shortage of GDD is amplified by later planting dates since the growing season has essentially been consistently too cool to close the gap and draw GDD totals closer to normal. Many of the GDD totals remain over 20 percent behind normal.

Table 1. Modified Growing Degree Day Summary (Base 500/86 F) for the 2004 Crop Season, Covering Corn Planting Dates from April 20 to May 10.








































































































































































































































































Location
GDD Total Since 4/20
Dep from Norm
GDD Total Since 4/30
Dep from Norm
GDD Total Since 5/10
Dep from Norm
Crookston
1316
-504
1268
-508
1217
-489
Moorhead
1548
-358
1485
-372
1403
-380
Warroad
1185
-396
1147
-405
1125
-376
Alexandria
1430
-393
1378
-399
1308
-400
Browns Valley
1479
-537
1415
-546
1318
-563
Canby
1777
-330
1710
-340
1620
-347
Fergus Falls
1532
-313
1467
-331
1401
-327
Montevideo
1672
-284
1612
-295
1520
-313
Morris
1550
-407
1485
-420
1420
-408
Becker
1573
-248
1538
-235
1479
-223
Hutchinson
1717
-319
1648
-332
1570
-328
Olivia
1677
-319
1606
-343
1521
-347
St. Cloud
1562
-247
1505
-257
1420
-272
Staples
1329
-318
1280
-325
1231
-309
Willmar
1644
-330
1579
-343
1512
-332
Lamberton
1714
-346
1645
-359
1565
-357
Pipestone
1634
-339
1566
-355
1485
-360
Redwood Falls
1769
-408
1705
-409
1609
-414
Worthington
1697
-225
1635
-241
1561
-243
Faribault
1699
-285
1638
-293
1561
-293
Mankato
1700
-346
1632
-358
1551
-358
Waseca
1756
-241
1694
-249
1613
-251
Winnebago
1745
-299
1677
-312
1595
-313
Preston
1631
-244
1582
-245
1512
-246
Red Wing
1745
-285
1682
-292
1611
-283
Rochester
1641
-216
1583
-224
1499
-237
Rosemount
1711
-226
1655
-229
1576
-234
Winona
1814
-405
1755
-397
1682
-379

The other feature of the September climate outlook worth mentioning is that Minnesota is expected to be wetter than normal. This may impinge on the ability of the crop to dry down before being harvested. So all the climatic indicators suggest that corn and soybean crops will not reach normal maturity, will likely be exposed to further frost or freeze damage, and will be of higher moisture content and require further drying. (Naturally, I hope I am wrong!)

Frost on corn and soybeans

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Dale R. Hicks
Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota

The growing season continues to be abnormally cold and now the cool temperatures of August 21 have caused frost injury to crops in Minnesota. This report gives an assessment of what I think is the situation.

Corn Lodging - What Can We Expect?

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Dale R. Hicks, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota

The extreme winds that occurred in southern Minnesota on August 3rd caused corn to lodge badly. Lodged plants will likely yield lower and make harvesting more difficult.

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