SuperTalk Mississippi

Crops take a hit with unrelenting rain in August

Photo courtesy of MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale

Mississippi’s crops have had an excessive amount of rain during harvest season and now experts say what they really need is a hefty amount of sunshine and dry weather. 

Grains like corn reached maturity around the end of July, beginning of August, according to Dr. Erick Larson with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

“Rains are delaying corn harvest and hindering natural grain dry-down in the field. We have a lot of corn that is mature and ready for harvest. Growers will probably resume harvest as soon as sunshine returns, which will probably have some negative implications on soil conditions,” Larson said.

But it isn’t just grain crops that are having trouble in harvest, soybeans are being negatively affected by the late-season rains, said Jhn Orlowski, assistant Extension/research professor at MSU’s Delta Research and Extension Center.

“The rain has delayed activity in fields that could have potentially been harvested, and it has delayed harvest aid applications on many early-planted fields,” he said. “The rainfall has caused soybean seeds still on the plant to begin sprouting in the pods.”

The experts say the best thing for growers to do is to wait. With sunshine and dry weather in the forecast for the next few days Dr. Larson said he expects to see growers try to harvest as much as he can before the next wave of rains moves through.

“The problem is the amount of rain and length of time we’ve had stormy conditions. Overcast skies are causing some plants to shed fruit,” Dr. Darin Dodds said. “What seems to be shedding are second and third positions, which are less valuable than the first positions. If the rain continues for a while, the damage will be greater, especially if bolls start to rot or hard-lock.”

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