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Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Weekly Update – July 31, 2015
Author: Arkansas Row Crops

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

Corn harvested has started on a very limited acreage (two producers that I know of) of high moisture corn. Most of the early planted corn in the southern half of the state is at black layer, so now it is just a matter of getting the grain to dry down. Producers with grain dryers will likely start harvest on a limited basis in the next 10 days or so. Yields will likely be variable, but some areas still appear set for very good yields despite the challenging weather we have faced this year.

Grain sorghum harvest will likely start on a few of the earliest planted fields this coming week, but most are still 10 days or more before harvest. Driving across the state, many grain sorghum fields appear to have excellent yield potential. Variable maturity with a field is very evident this year, likely due to too much rain early in the season, which held back growth in low areas of fields. Fields with low plant populations or areas with low plant populations are also seeing differences in maturity as the main head is more mature than the heads produced from tillers.   This variability in maturity will make harvest aid applications difficult to time. More information on harvest aid use in grain sorghum is posted at

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

The Lee and Lincoln County Corn Research Verification Fields have reached R6 (blacklayer) and are done for the year. The St Francis County field is not far behind and should be R6 by Sunday (August 2). These three fields should be harvested by the second to third week of August depending on the weather. The Clay – Yount field had some significant southern rust compared to the week before. Showers on the field the week before plus the hot weather really ramped up the disease in this field. A fungicide was recommended for that field.

The Jefferson County Grain Sorghum Research Verification Field was treated for headworms. The sugarcane aphids moved a little more into the field this week, but are still only in one small part of the field. Beneficial insects seem to be working them over pretty good. The Lawrence County field is getting close to being done. It really started to turn color this week. There are still no aphids in this field or headworms.

July 31 corn update

July 31 gs update

Southeast Arkansas Update – Wes Kirkpatrick (Desha County)

Irrigation has been terminated on the bulk of the corn and grain sorghum acres.  Limited harvest of both crops should begin in the next week or two. 

Central Arkansas Update – Anthony Whittington (Jefferson County)

Jefferson County was probably the first in the state this year to start harvesting corn. The field was south of Altheimer and was at 28% moisture. Most of the other corn in the area is approaching blacklayer. Grain sorghum is continuing to look good, with some fields starting to turn color. 

Northeast Arkansas Update – Stewart Runsick (Clay County)

Most of the corn and grain sorghum will need to be watered one more time to finish it out. Some of the later planted corn fields are being treated with fungicide for southern rust. Most all the grain sorghum has been sprayed with a fungicide. The majority got an application of Belt for headworm control.  The crops look really good.

River Valley Update – Kevin VanPelt (Conway County)

Producers have terminated irrigation on the earlier planted corn and it looks real good. Irrigation has resumed on the later planted corn and southern rust continues to remain at low levels.

Market Update – Scott Stiles (Economics Specialist)

Chicago corn futures closed 5 ½ cents higher on Thursday. The December 2015 contract closed at $3.83 ¾ and the September contract finished at $3.73 ¼. Thursday’s gains are little consolation against the sharp losses the corn market has endured since mid-month. After rallying almost 92 cents off the June lows both the September and December contracts have now retraced over 75% of those gains. On the September chart there is a chart gap at $3.90 – $3.92. Markets do have a tendency to retrace and refill these gaps.   Watch the charts.

July 31 Table 1

Corn Futures Prices

Weather conditions have been near ideal over the past two weeks in areas that needed warmer temperatures and a break from rain. Crop ratings are improving in the eastern Corn Belt states.  Monday’s USDA Crop Progress report indicated that 70% of the U.S. corn crop is in good-to-excellent shape. That’s a 1 point improvement from the previous week and overall ratings are now above the 5-year average. The weather forecast has scattered showers across the Corn Belt over the next ten days and no threat of excess heat.

In the cash market, new crop corn basis has been steady this week at most locations. Some elevators reported a 10 cent improvement (stronger basis) in sorghum yesterday. That is welcome news for producers after seeing basis weaken dramatically since late June. China is still buying sorghum from the U.S.   A 120,000 metric ton (MT) sale (2.36 million bushels) was announced yesterday. Of that, 60,000 MT are for old crop (2014) delivery and the other half is new crop. China is the only “known” buyer so far of new crop sorghum.

In Thursday’s Export Sales report, the U.S. shipped out 6.4 million bushels of sorghum last week—a 7-week high. All of it is bound for China. New sales of 4.1 million bushels to China were also reported for old crop delivery.   Like shipments, net sales were up sharply from the previous week, hitting a 16-week high. We need to see more strength in export sales. There are just five reporting weeks left in the 2014/15 marketing year and Total Commitment (sales + shipments) is about 15 million bushels below the USDA’s July export estimate of 350 million bushels.

Exports sales of corn improved last week. Sales for the 2014/15 crop year came in at 364,900 MT or 14.37 million bushels; up 63% from last week.  Japan accounted for most of this with 362,000 MT.  Sales for 2015/16 came in at 443,300 MT or 17.45 million bushels and were up 42% from last week.  The big buyers were Mexico for 279,500 MT, Unknown at 70,600 and Japan for 60,000.

Heat Units

Heat units continue to be above the 30 year average. Early planted fields should be getting close to or at R6 (blacklayer).

July 31 gdd update

Twitter – Jason Kelley @AR_Feedgrains, Kevin Lawson @ar_cornverify

Cooperative Extension Service Corn Page –

Cooperative Extension Service Grain Sorghum Page –

Arkansas Row Crops Blog –

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