JASPER COUNTY — Although the growing season started out wet, and corn and soy beans were planted late, the crop may not be as bad as expected.
Bryan Overstreet, agriculture educator for the Jasper County Purdue Extension Office, said the warmer weather in September helped bring some of the late plantings to maturity.
There was concern early on that the plants wouldn’t reach full maturity after being planted later in the season followed by an extremely dry summer.
Overstreet said with the decent fall weather and a late frost, corn and beans had a chance to mature. He said he has heard that corn and beans are decent. Despite this, he said production will be down about 10-15 bushels of soy beans from last year.
He said he spoke to a farmer recently who said, looking at his soils and yield maps, the result is opposite from what he usually sees, with the sandy ground doing much better than the dark dirt. This, Overstreet said, is due to the wet spring and dry summer.
“Late-planted corn is still a concern on maturity,” he said. “The quality of grain may be an issue. They’ll have to be careful when it’s stored this winter.”
Corn is doing a little better than beans in the market, he said. Both should be higher, but with the trade issues going on, “It’s been a challenge, so demand is down. I hope they get it worked out in the (next) month or two.”
He said they should know how much of the crop is produced in the county and state by the end of the year.
Unfortunately, he said the market is going by a predication from the USDA, which estimated low yields for beans. He said the report did state the numbers could be incorrect, but the market didn’t see that, just the numbers.
“Farmers depend on what the Board of Trade says and that’s always a challenge,” Overstreet said.
He explained that farmers cannot charge what they want for their grain, but have to go by what the price is as dictated by the market. However, he said, there has been an opportunity to sell at a higher price locally because the demand is higher here than what the Chicago market is saying.
This year, local crops are selling for 40 cents higher than the Chicago market because the local crops are feeding pigs, cows and the ethanol market in this area. He said in Washington, their local crops are selling up to 75 cents per bushel higher than the Chicago price.
Overstreet said there are a few farms that didn’t get a corn crop planted because of the wet conditions, but they were able to plant beans. Most of the county was above to get corn planted.
“We were fortunate there,” he said, compared to some of the other counties in the state.
Overstreet said they’ve estimated about 15 percent of corn was not planted this year.
“It’s higher around the Rensselaer area, where there were farms that weren’t able to plant corn at all,” he said.
North of Kniman Road, in the northern portion of the county, almost all of the corn was planted, as well as south of Indiana 16. Overstreet said the area from the Fair Oaks to Indiana 16 is the one hardest hit by the weather this season.
As far as the harvest, “We’ve made a lot of progress with beans last week,” he said. It may be later before the corn is brought in. Overstreet said it could be as late as Thanksgiving before all of the corn is harvested.
“It depends on the weather,” he said. “We’ve had good weather for the last two weeks for harvest. This week, it looks like more rain will hit the area.”