Monday, June 16, 2014

Is the Corn Growing Degree Day (GDD) Accumulation Ahead or Behind in Illinois?

Last week's cooler weather has many growers concerned about the Illinois corn crop getting enough Growing Degree Days (GDD's) or Growing Degree Units (GDU's) or heat units (HU's).  This is because the corn's growth strongly depends on temperature and is a measure of crop progress. Warmer or cooler weather is converted mathematically into "measures of thermal time by calculating the daily accumulations of heat using temperature data." For more information on how to calculate GDD's, you can refer to: Growing Degree Days as a Method of Rating the Maturity of Corn Hybrids.

Even though we have had some cooler weather, this season's GDD's are actually above the 11 year average of GDD's throughout Illinois.  The HOT weather in the forecast will cause you to "hear" the corn grow!

Burrus corn hybrids range from (early maturity) 1130 GDD's to (late maturity) 1380 GDD's to reach the silk growth stage.  More information on Burrus corn hybrids can be found at the Burrus Seed Corn Lineup. 

I was able to use the Crop Degree Day Calculator to calculate the GDD's below for each area of Illinois (from South to North) based on the average planting date for each area.

Rend Lake: 
Planting Date - May 26
Actual Total of GDD's - 479
Average (11 year) - 419

Planting Date - April 18
Actual Total of GDD's - 994
Average (11 year) - 882

Planting Date - April 19
Actual total - 984
Average (11 year) - 825

Planting Date - April 26
Actual total - 780
Average (11 year) - 693

Planting Date - May 6
Actual total - 699
Average (11 year) - 579

Planting Date - May 7
Actual total - 621
Average (11 year) - 573

Planting Date - May 26
Actual total - 437
Average (11 year) - 311

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