Maryland Regional Crop Reports: October 2020

Reports are for crop conditions up to October 6, 2020.

Western Maryland

Soybeans and corn are being harvested with wheat and cover crops being planted as soon as combines leave the fields. Manure is also covering many fields planted with cover crops. Welcome rains of early September have been followed by another dry spell. Hopefully the clouds of October will be more generous with their moisture.—Jeff Semler, Washington Co.

Central Maryland

The cooler weather has been a welcome change from this summer. September’s rain amounts and locations were scattered across the region. Corn grain harvest has begun. Soybean fields are drying down, with some ready to be harvested in the next couple weeks. It’s not too early to start thinking about weed control for next season, especially if dealing with herbicide resistant weeds like marestail. If planting a small grain, be sure to start clean and stay clean!—Kelly Nichols, Montgomery Co.

Northern Maryland

We were a tad dry in September and recent rains have been welcome. Corn harvest has been occurring for approximately 3 weeks now, although not at full force until the last few days. Corn yields are certainly down compared to last year’s record numbers; probably 10-20% lower. Even with that said, corn yields are better than anticipated considering how dry June/July was. Full season soybeans are drying down quickly and what’s been harvested so far has yielded exceptionally well. The double crop beans do not look nearly as promising, as a dry July severely inhibited establishment and dry September reduced pod set/bean size. Cover crop establishment has been good and the 2021 wheat and barley crop are going in the ground smoothly.—Andy Kness, Harford Co.

Upper & Mid Shore

Corn harvest is around half complete. Dryland yields are well above average, and may end up near all time highs. Irrigated yields are off 10-15%- probably due to too many cloudy, humid, hazy, poor light quality days.  Soybean harvest is just beginning. Beans look really good. It’s still too early to predict yield, but we definitely grew a tremendous amount of forage. Early planted cover crops are off to a great start. Small grain planting is just beginning.—Jim Lewis, Caroline Co.

Lower Shore

Harvest is underway. Approximately 25% of corn has been harvested. Corn yield reports are 125 plus or minus bushels per acre. Sorghum is also ready to be harvested. Soybean harvest has not yet begun, although fields are now beginning to reach full maturity. We had a 2-3” rain event last week, which prevented entry to fields for several days. So far, the weather has been sunny and breezy this week, helping to dry crops down. Palmer amaranth is apparent in some fields, and we urge growers to harvest these fields last and thoroughly clean equipment to prevent the spread of seed. The planting of fall cover crops is underway.—Sarah Hirsh, Somerset Co.

Southern Maryland

Sunny conditions this week are finally allowing for good progress on corn harvest.  Corn moisture levels are stubbornly running around 18-22% and saturated ground has made corn harvest a challenge this year. We continue to see a fair amount of ear rot issues. Cover crop planting is behind schedule as farmers struggle to get corn in. Soybean harvest has not yet begun, but there are some really good-looking soybean fields. We expect excellent double crop beans and a very good full season crop. The drier weather has provided some opportunities for getting in dry hay. We continue to struggle with orchardgrass persistence in this area. Fields that looked picture perfect in the spring and early summer are now looking more like fields of weeds with patches of crabgrass and the majority of orchardgrass gone. We have some work to do to figure out the persistence issue or rely more heavily on other species. Vegetable harvest is winding up. The pumpkin and cucurbit crop was hurt by heavy rainfall.—Ben Beale, St. Mary’s Co.