Missouri corn crop best since 2004

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 | 6:01 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA –The corn crop in Missouri hasn't looked this good since 2004.

Eighty-four percent of Missouri corn was in good and excellent condition, according to a July 18 USDA Missouri Crop Progress and Condition report.

The last time that much of the corn crop was healthy this time of year was July 23, 2004 when 80 percent was classified as good or excellent, MU Extension Corn Specialist Brent Myers said.

Many factors have contributed such as timely rains that were well spaced, mild conditions and cool night-time temperatures, Myers said.

"There has been no visible signs of drought stress," Myers said. "The mild conditions resulted in few disease problems."

Factors that determine the corn crop's condition include the color, size of plant, presence of disease and success of pollination. Myers said this year's crop looks dark green, which means it has plenty of nitrogen, which is key for plant growth. He also said the corn, on average is as high as nine feet tall and pollination has been successful.

The condition of corn in Boone County was similar to the statewide figures.

According to estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Missouri produced 136 bushels per acre last year.

"It is a possibility for Missouri this year to be on track for the yield produced in 2004, which was 162 bushels per acre," Myers said.

The average annual value of the state corn crop between 2006-2010 was $1.6 billion, according to the MU Extension Missouri Crop Resource Guide.

Even though crop outlooks remain positive, Myers said the corn is in a critical phase. The pollinated kernels need water to accumulate starch for growth. If Missouri gets no more rain, he said, the average yield of crop this year would still meet around the average or slightly below average statewide mark, which is 130 yields.

Corn is not the only crop in Missouri doing well. The USDA also reported that 77 percent of soybeans were in good or excellent condition.

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