Heat Wave Could Hurt Corn Yield

Jul 19, 2016

Extension experts warn some of the state’s corn crop could fall victim to the hot, dry weather this week.  The crop is now in a stage of pollination.  Officials say excessive heat at this point in the season can affect corn yield for the year.

Credit South Dakota State University

Agriculture experts worry the current drought and heat wave conditions in the state are not good for the corn crop.   Jonathan Kleinjan is a crop production associate at SDSU.  

“Heat in itself is not necessarily a big problem, it’s when you’re hot and dry at the same time," says Kleinjan.

He says corn is in a critical stage in its pollination when it’s most susceptible to extreme summer weather. But he adds that pollination generally occurs for up to ten days, so once temperatures drop, corn still has a chance to successfully pollinate. Kleinjan says when corn runs out of water during pollination, yield could decrease as much as eight percent. He says the corn crops in central South Dakota and eastern areas of drought are at risk.

"Corn can withstand quite a bit of high temperature as long there’s water there. Just like people, we’re fine when it’s hot, as long as we have plenty of water to drink," says Kleinjan.

Kleinjan expects a slightly lower yield in corn production, but he says the impact on overall state agriculture should be minimal.