2022 Research Yield Book

Review of 2022 The 2022 growing season was very stressful from beginning to end. When we look back we will remember this year as hot and dry, however let’s not forget about the winds and drastic temperature changes. One observation that many of us have made this year is that corn plants were short. As we observed this at the Orthman research farm we started to observe spacing between internodes. The lack of cloudy days resulted in very consistent and short internode spacing on the corn plant. This shortened up hybrids a lot compared to what we observed during the 2021 growing season. Furthermore, in some areas corn was shortened by a lack of water or natural rainfall. During a dry or drought year, timing of natural rainfall is extremely important. We observed that rains were very localized in 2022. There seemed to be broad differences in just a few miles or less making it difficult to utilize weather station data from more than a mile away. An example of how localized rainfall was, would be to compare a weather station in Polk, Nebraska, to one in Osceola, Nebraska. These weather stations are 14 miles apart as the crow flies. Long term average annual rainfall for these two weather stations is within 0.5”. For the 2021 to 2022 water year there was a difference of 4.61”. This is a huge difference and observing rain fed crops between the two weather stations confirmed the differences in rainfall. Of most importance is the amount of rainfall during the peak demands of the crop. Figure 1 shows that the major difference in rainfall between Polk and Osceola occurred in June and July when the corn plant needed it the most, resulting in crops suffering less from the lack of moisture in the Polk area. This is just a single example of the localized rainfall of 2022. Two neighbors 2.5 miles apart had dramatic differences in observed rainfall throughout the growing season of 2022. Furthermore, the Orthman research farm is 3.1 miles from the Polk weather station and rain gauge recorded rainfall was sometimes significantly less than the weather station. Figure 2, compares the 2022 water year to long term averages. The largest deficits from the long term averages in 2022 were in June and August. June is when corn water use is beginning to increase, and August is when soybean water use is important. Any rain fed system or inefficient irrigation system in the area would have limited yields due to the water shortages during these times.


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