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Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Weekly Update – June 12, 2015
Author: Arkansas Row Crops

Corn and Grain Sorghum Update – Dr. Jason Kelley (Wheat and Feed Grains Specialist)

Summer time is here and we have quickly gone from being too wet in many areas of the state to now needing a rain.  Most of the corn is now large enough that it is using a considerable amount of water.  That combined with a shallow root system from earlier wet weather has quickly led to drought stress on fields that have not yet been irrigated.  Most of our corn is silking or will be soon, a very sensitive time that adequate water is needed for optimum yields and successful pollination.  Early planted fields on well drained fields look very good at this point.

Grain sorghum is progressing rapidly now with warm temperatures.  The earliest plantings in south Arkansas are now beginning to head, while some of the latest planted fields are just at the 2-3 leaf stage.  Many early planted fields will likely receive irrigation this coming week if no rainfall occurs with the weather system coming in this weekend.  Sugarcane aphids were found on grain sorghum in Chicot and Desha Counties in Southeast Arkansas earlier this week, so grain sorghum fields will need to be scouted from aphids now.  See the article on sugarcane aphids by Dr. Seiter at:

Corn and Grain Sorghum Research Verification – Kevin Lawson (Corn & GS Verification Coordinator)

Irrigation is the big topic right now on all the verification fields.  The Extension irrigation scheduler is used on all the fields for irrigation recommendations.  Some of the fields actually have to start a couple days earlier than the irrigation scheduler recommendation.  This crop has received so much rain earlier in the year that the roots are shallow and not taking advantage of deeper moisture.  That plus the heat and wind we have experienced the last few days is causing plants to stress.  The Lincoln County corn verification field is the first field to enter reproductive stage, and looking at the ears it has a very good yield potential.

June 12 corn updateJune 12 gs update

Southeast Arkansas Update – Wes Kirkpatrick (Desha County)  

Corn irrigation was initiated late last week.  The majority of corn is tasseling.  Grain sorghum is beginning to head.  Crop looks good. 

Central Arkansas Update – Anthony Whittington (Jefferson County) 

I am starting to see some tasseling and irrigation in some areas of the county.  Growth stages are all over the charts from tassel to V4 and anywhere in between.   I am seeing fertilizer going out in hopes of catching the potential rain over the weekend.

Northeast Arkansas Update – Stewart Runsick (Clay County) 

The crop is progressing well now and looks much better following some warm dry conditions. Most of the area received 2 tenths inch of rain or less rainfall over the past week, so field work has continued. The majority of the corn is V8 to V10 growth stage. Irrigation is needed on all the corn and a few producers have started the pumps. 

River Valley Update – Kevin VanPelt (Conway County) 

After three weeks of rain and flooding in the River Valley, it has turned hot and dry in a hurry. Because of the extended wet conditions we’ve experienced up to this point, the corn is shallow rooted and producers have already started irrigating to keep the corn from getting stressed. The earlier planted corn that was not affected by the flood waters is starting to tassel and looks really good.

Market Update – Scott Stiles (Economics Specialist)                               

Corn futures appear set to trade lower on the week following Wednesday’s 8 cent losses in the September and December contracts.  The June USDA supply/demand report was mildly bearish in regard to the U.S. balance sheets with new crop beginning stocks increasing by 25 million bushels.  The surprising news came in the World balance sheet. The USDA added 4.51 million metric tons (MMT) to the 2014/15 World ending stocks number largely on higher South American production. The USDA added 3 MMT to the Brazilian crop and .5 MMT to the Argentine crop.

Link to full USDA June supply/demand report:

Weather will be closely watched by traders for the remainder of the growing season. For the Corn Belt, July temperatures and rainfall are considered to be the key determinants of final yield.  The majority of weather forecasters continue to predict a cooler-than-normal pattern for much of the Corn Belt through July.  Mild temperatures along with favorable soil moisture conditions provide support for the USDA’s current U.S. average yield estimate of 166.8 bushels per acre. For the time being, traders are not concerned about growing season weather as it pertains to corn.  Heavy U.S. and World ending stocks continue to provide overhead resistance for corn futures.  Rallies to $3.85 appear to be the upper price limit for the December contract.  The $3.75 area is difficult for the September contract to penetrate. In the cash market, new crop basis has been steady through mid-week.  Corn basis on the Mississippi river is generally 5 cents under September futures.  Grain Sorghum basis has made a strong recovery over the past week and is around 85 to 90 cents over December futures delivered to the Mississippi river.

The next key USDA reports come on June 30.  The USDA will release its’ Acreage report and June Grain Stocks.  Many private analysts see lower U.S. corn acres in the June 30 acreage update.  Average pre-report estimates are near 88.5 million acres compared to USDA’s March 31 Prospective Plantings estimate of 89.2 million acres. 

Heat Units 

Heat units were up this week.  The first 30 heat unit days were experienced this week and some of the verification fields accumulated 200 heat units in a week.  It takes approximately 1475 heat units to get to R1.

June 12 gdd

Twitter – Jason Kelley @AR_Feedgrains, Kevin Lawson @ar_cornverify

Cooperative Extension Service –

Arkansas Row Crops Blog –


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