Q: Was any corn in the area really 'knee-high by the Fourth of July'?
A: Some of it was.
Late planting due to near-record rainfall in April and May has prevented many crops from getting the heat needed for normal growth. Combined with a lack of hot summer days until recently, Illinois corn growth is a mixed bag.
“Illinois only had 49 percent of the corn planted by June 1,” Mansfield farmer Ken Dalenberg said. “Corn planted after that is very small, with only four to five leaves.”
Nothing disastrous, though 2019 growth stacks up poorly to the last few years.
“Last year we had corn that was already tasseling at this point in time,” Dalenberg said.
Dalenburg estimates April planted corn will tassel around July 10, but it may be late July or early August when the majority of Illinois corn catches up.
Historic rainfall has saturated fields and left few windows for farmers to set up their equipment and plant.
That being said, there’s still plenty of season left.
“I think folks that were patient and did everything under their control to get it planted have a good chance of achieving a crop still,” said Chris Kamienski, technical agronomist for the East Central Illinois region of Channel Seed.
Pests, diseases and the frost date still loom over the state of Illinois crops, but this season’s inconsistent weather creates a lot of uncertainty, good and bad.
“This year’s weather has been anything but normal,” Kamienski said.
“It’s not a given that we’ll have stressful conditions during July and August, which could contribute to good yields.”