A corn crop keeps records, says Collin County, Texas, farmer Butch Aycock, “and when you make a mistake it puts down a little black mark. You have to keep enough nitrogen on. You have to get enough water. If you don’t, the crop jots down a black mark and will show you later everything you did wrong.

“Corn is an unforgiving crop.”

In late June, Aycock was hoping he’d need little forgiveness for a crop that, for the most part, got off to a good start, thanks to decent spring and early summer rainfall in Northeast Texas.

“Corn varies a lot, though,” he said. “From Melissa north, the crop is in good shape. East of highway 75 is good, but west of 75 it’s very light, and south of Melissa some will make about half of what the better corn will make.”

He says the crop may have recorded some missed rain events. “We missed some key showers to the west in late May,” he said. “We got two or three inches to the east and about a half-inch to the west. Luckily, only about 25 percent of the crop was hurt; about 15 percent was hurt pretty bad.”

He had about 300 acres with hail damage, as well.

Aycock said he used to consider himself a corn farmer, “until it didn’t rain for about five years. If you cut the water off even the best stand will not make much.”

Aycock farms dryland and says farmers in his area have to be realistic about yield prospects. “You have to know the field,” he said, “but if you don’t think you can make 100 bushels per acre you probably need to find another occupation.”

That yield goal doesn’t always pan out, but it’s a target. “We got hurt last year, but we had a good price and made more corn than we initially expected. And with Afla-Guard, we made good quality.”