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Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Weekly Update – July 24, 2015
Author: Arkansas Row Crops

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

Much of our March and April planted corn is getting near maturity and many have just finished up their last irrigation this week while other fields that were later planted may still need another irrigation or two to reach maturity.   Some of the earliest corn in the state is at black layer in far southeast Arkansas and harvest could start in early August for those with the capability to dry high moisture corn.   Grain sorghum growth stages vary considerably across the state from the earliest in southeast Arkansas that is already mature to late planted fields in central and northeast Arkansas that have not headed yet. The earliest grain sorghum fields may be ready to harvest by early August.

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

Corn fields in the Research Verification Program are starting to enter the home stretch to harvest. The fields in Lincoln and Lee have reached irrigation termination and are approaching R6 (black layer). The St Francis field is pivot irrigated so it will need one more turn of the pivot then it is finished with irrigation. The fields in Clay – Woolverton and Lonoke have reached the R5 (dent) stage and are probably looking at one more irrigation. Clay – Yount is getting close to R5. The producer in Pope County has decided to use his field for silage, so that field will be harvested in the next week or so.

The grain sorghum fields were scouted for aphids and headworms this past week. The field in Jefferson County reached the headworm threshold and a small spot of aphids has also been found in the field. Prevathon was recommended to control the headworms, provide some residual, and help protect beneficials. The field in Lawrence County hasn’t reached threshold yet and will continue to be scouted.

July 24 corn update

July 24 gs update

Southeast Arkansas Update – Wes Kirkpatrick (Desha County)

Irrigation is being terminated on many corn acres. Still other acres of corn are being watered for the last time. Limited grain sorghum harvest should begin in the next couple of weeks.

Central Arkansas Update – Anthony Whittington (Jefferson County)

Starting to see more corn denting in the area this week as the corn crop is winding down. There is still some later planting corn out there with more maturing to go. Grain sorghum scouting is still underway for midge, headworms, and for the sugarcane aphid. 

Northeast Arkansas Update – Stewart Runsick (Clay County)

A lot of the corn is now beginning to dent.  Southern rust can be found at low levels in fields.  The past few days of rainfall may cause the disease to increase.  Later fields should be watched closely.  We are seeing a lot of headworms in grain sorghum this week.  Treatments are being made in several fields.  Producers are still looking hard for sugarcane aphids.  I suspect it won’t be long until they are detected.

River Valley Update – Kevin VanPelt (Conway County)

The earlier planted corn is in late R5 and producers are terminating irrigation after this week. Some producers are treating for Southern Rust in the later planted corn but have not had to irrigate with much of the area receiving 1/2 – 2″ of rainfall.

Market Update – Scott Stiles (Economics Specialist)

After losses early in Thursday’s trading, corn prices managed to end the day with fractional gains.  The September ’15 contract settled at $4.03 ¼ and the December ’15 contract settled at $4.13 ¾ on Thursday.  Corn futures have been under pressure most of the week due to improving Corn Belt weather and crop conditions. Monday’s USDA Crop Progress report showed 69% of the U.S. corn crop in good-to-excellent condition as of July 19.  The U.S. sorghum crop was rated 67% good-to-excellent (Arkansas: 80% good-to-excellent). The percent of the U.S. crop rated good-to-excellent was unchanged from the previous week for both corn and sorghum.

Weather for developing corn in key areas of the Corn Belt is near perfect right now. Moisture has not been excessive in most areas and higher temperatures are providing the crop with enough growing degree days to advance the later planted acres.  Across the Corn Belt, the 7-day forecast has moderate rainfall and temperatures in the 90s and lows near 70.

On the demand side, weekly ethanol production remains at levels needed to reach the USDA’s target of 5.2 billion bushels for ethanol use.  Lower gasoline prices this summer are helping corn demand for ethanol. Export sales estimates ahead of this morning’s report had corn at 500-1,000 thousand metric tons.  The actual number for corn came in well below expectations at 223,447 metric tons.   Shipments will have to pick up greatly over the final six weeks of the marketing year to reach USDA’s export goal of 1.85 billion bushels.

Looking ahead, this week’s lower price direction may be a signal that crop conditions will improve in next Monday’s Crop Progress report.   There will be three more Crop Progress reports ahead of the August 12 USDA supply/demand report.  Much discussion on yield potential will continue.  Weather, demand and crop conditions are the key market drivers today.  For now, crop conditions have stabilized.

Regarding fuel, crude oil is now trading below $50, which is a big psychological level of support. At one point today, crude oil traded down to $48.21, which would be the lowest seen since very early April this year.  Diesel prices have followed crude lower and are providing some great opportunities to get covered on fuel needs for the back half of the growing season. 

Heat Units 

Heat units continue to be above the 30 year average this week. It takes around 2800 heat units for a 114 day hybrid to reach black layer. Corn planted on March 30 should be at or getting close to black layer. Fields planted at that time in other parts of the state should be about a week away if we keep averaging 30 heat units a day.

July 24 gdd update

Twitter – Jason Kelley @AR_Feedgrains, Kevin Lawson @ar_cornverify

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