Harvest began on a wider scale throughout the region the week of September 20. Considering the dry August period, initial corn yields have been better than expected, with yields ranging from 150 to 200 bushels, but these numbers reflect only a small percentage of overall acres. Corn has been relatively slow to dry in the field compared with the past few years. Numerous reports of stalk rots have been received. Producers are encouraged to check their fields to identify fields with high lodging potential.
Initial soybean yields have been less than anticipated, with 25 to 35 bushels or less in the northern portion of the region and 35 to 40 bushels common in the southern portion. Some lower yields have been attributed to charcoal rot and white mold diseases, but the dry August period is a major factor.
Light frost was observed in parts of the region on the mornings of September 29, 30, and October 1.
Reports from the annual fall European corn borer survey in the region indicate that percentages of infested plants and borers per infested plant are lower than in recent years.
Harvest is in full swing. Corn harvest began in earnest 2 weeks ago, but most producers have made the switch from early planted corn to soybeans within the past week. Yield reports for early planted corn have been anywhere from slightly better than average (140-165 bushels per acre) in some areas to "phenomenal" (200+ bushels per acre) in others.
Soybean yields have been considerably less impressive, especially in the northeast. Drought stress and ensuing diseases such as charcoal rot have undoubtedly had a significant impact. The effect of the soybean aphid on soybean yields is still not clear, but some have reported a yield advantage of 8 to 10 bushels per acre where insecticides were applied when aphids were at or above proposed threshold levels in mid-August.
Preliminary reports from educators conducting the annual corn borer surveys have indicated that second- (and possibly third-) generation corn borer pressure has been slight to moderate in most areas. However, poor stalk quality due to stalk rots has led to some concerns in the northern part of the region, causing producers to place a harvest priority on some cornfields.