Crop Heat Units – How far behind are we?

  • Sep 03
    Chuck Belanger
    Crop Heat Units – How far behind are we? By Chuck Belanger on September 3, 2013
    Categories: Grain Corn, Silage Corn, Soybean

    I have been fielding a lot of questions lately about the number of heat units we’ve received this season and if we are behind, compared to last year. Using FarmZone.com, I’ve calculated this season’s CHUs and went a step further to look at a 10 year average. This amazing database can be found here.  You can change the dates and location with a simple click, the data in the example is for Chatham Kent.

    As of the 16th of August, we have accumulated 2534 CHUs since May 1st; last year on this date, we had accumulated 2700 CHUs, meaning we are behind by 166 CHUs. The 10 year average to this date is 2548 CHUs; therefore, we are only behind by 14 CHUs for the 10 year average

    Let’s take a look at MZ 4490DBR.  It is rated at 3200 CHUs, which means that we need 3200 CHUs for the variety to reach black layer – a necessary step for corn to mature.  It is important that this occurs before the first frost. On average, we can accumulate anywhere from 25-33 CHUs a day. Of course, this depends on the maximum and minimum daily temperatures. If we use 25 CHU as an average, we would need approximately 26 days of good temperatures to reach black layer on MZ 4490DBR. We will need another 666 CHUs, which is very achievable. We still have the month of September left to accumulate CHUs.  September has been a good month for us over the past 5 years; the average CHUs captured being 679.

    I am telling you that we are OK!! Corn will mature in time and we will have enough time to dry down. Just sit back and watch the corn grow; Mother Nature will do the rest.

    Chuck Belanger, Maizex Seeds Yield Specialist, North Essex and South Chatham-Kent Counties
    Twitter: @sprayman63