Weather Patterns Point To Above Average Crop for 2015

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Overall, U.S. farmers have had a positive start to the corn, sorghum and barley growing seasons. Weather patterns show favorable conditions throughout the summer and continuing into harvest for most of the country.

El Niño is partially responsible. El Niño is a large-scale, ocean-atmosphere climate interaction. According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the phenomenon begins with a periodic warming of sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific and then affects weather across the United States.

Coarse Grain Crop Progress

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports indicate 92 percent of the corn crop was planted by the end of May, which is slightly higher than the 5-year average. The end of June reports show the corn crop just entering the silking stage with 68 percent in excellent or good condition.

Corn acreage is estimated at 88.897 million acres planted (35.9 million hectares), which translates to an estimated total corn supply of 14.8 billion bushels (376 million metric tons). This is about 2 percent lower from the previous year.

Positive Outlook For U.S. Barley Production In 2015

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North Dakota barley farmer Mark Seastrand said his barley fields are off to a great start. “Conditions were ideal at planting time in mid-May, and timely rain has helped to kick off the growing season,” he said. “We’re cautiously optimistic about this year’s crop.”

Seastrand has a new addition to his farm this year – a newly released variety of barley, Genesis, developed by North Dakota State University. This variety will be harvested for seed. While it is cared for the same as other varieties he is growing, there are differences at planting and through the growth stages.

Kansas Grain Sorghum Farmer Expects Good Growing Season

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Adam Baldwin, who farms in central Kansas, said although he hasn’t planted his grain sorghum yet, he’s looking forward to a successful growing season thanks to much needed moisture that he received late in the spring.

“We’re set up to have a really good crop this year,” he said. “Although we’re getting in the field later than we planned, planting later is typically better for the crop.”

Tailored Traits Improve Corn Crop

Biotechnology is a critical tool used by U.S. corn farmers to produce a safe, high-yielding, quality crop in varying growing conditions while reducing the use of pesticides and fertilizers. Still, the genetic quality, diversity and specificity in a bag of corn seed begins with a conventional breeding program that develops germplasm that is specific for the soil and environment where it is intended to grow.

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