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Growers Anticipate State's Corn Harvest
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Corn yields may not reach the record levels of 1994, but most growers are optimistic despite dry conditions in parts of the state.
Little damage was reported from the initial storms related to Hurricane Erin as its remnants swept into Mississippi.
Dr. Dennis Reginelli, Noxubee County agent, said a wind storm the week before Erin caused some growers to harvest fields a week earlier than they might have otherwise. Most growers in Mississippi will begin harvesting in a couple of weeks.
Excessive wind damage complicates harvest and reduces yields.
Dr. Erick Larson, extension corn specialist at Mississippi State University, said this year's state average may be around 90 bushels per acre, which is about 10 bushels more than the long- term average. The record average set last year was 102 bushels.
"Most of the crop benefitted from timely planting and moisture remaining after the winter and spring," Larson said.
"Growers saw some localized problems on fields flooded in late April with crazy top, a downy mildew disease, and some isolated cases of the Southwestern corn borer," Larson said. "But for the most part, the state's corn crop has experienced few problems in 1995."
The corn specialist said the primary factor impacting the profitability of this year's crop has been in the increased price of nitrogen sources of fertilizer. Strong market prices might off-set increased prices for fertilizer.
Some parts of the state, such as Noxubee County, were much drier than normal throughout most of the summer. Reginelli said one part of the county received less than 3 inches of rain between May 4 and the crop's maturity.
"Yields have been down around the 80 to 85 bushel range for the early corn," Reginelli said. "We expect some of the future yields to be much better."
Further north in Monroe County, where corn acreage increased about 4,000 acres, rains were much more cooperative.
"Our farmers had good planting conditions and adequate moisture when they needed it," said Dr. David Roberts, Monroe County agent. "Yields probably will be in the 100-bushel range, which is about 8 bushels more than normal."