Callaway row crops need more rain soon

Corn at crucial tasseling stage

Callaway County farmers are concerned about the corn crop, which is now at a crucial stage. Jim Keeven with SelectTurf has the irrigation system going at the Callaway County sod farm north of Jefferson City.

Callaway County farmers are concerned about the corn crop, which is now at a crucial stage. Jim Keeven with SelectTurf has the irrigation system going at the Callaway County sod farm north of Jefferson City. Photo by Julie Smith.

With corn crops at a crucial stage, Callaway County farmers are hoping for a good soaking rain soon.

“Corn now is at the tasseling stage. We need rain this week,” Peggy Smart of Tebbetts, who farms about 5,000 acres along the Missouri River in southern Callaway County, said Wednesday.

Tasseling starts when corn has reached most of its full height and begins to shed pollen. Silking occurs about three days after the tasseling stage. From 10 to 14 days after silking, the final stage of ear corn growth starts. Drought conditions at this stage can reduce corn yields by as much as 50 percent, or 6 percent per day during a drought.

“A good rain measuring a little less than one inch a few days ago helped,” Smart said, “but more rain is needed soon because the hot, dry wind since the rain has stressed the corn.”

Smart said one good aspect of dry weather at this stage is that corn roots will grow deeper to find more moisture. “But I don’t think there is much moisture down there now,” Smart said.

“Crop yields already have been damaged. But it certainly would help if we could get a good soaking rain soon,” Smart said.

This year Smart has about 700 acres of corn and about 3,000 acres of soybeans and the rest of the 5,000 acres in wheat.

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