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Brakes tapped on speedy Indiana harvest

By Stan Maddux
Indiana Correspondent

LACROSSE, Ind. – The record yields for corn and soybeans predicted in Indiana are not showing up in some parts of the state this harvest season. What’s getting brought in from the fields is not living up to the high expectations of some farmers.
Matt Schafer, of LaCrosse, gave just an average grade to the yields of corn, so far, harvested from his fields 30 miles from the southern tip of Lake Michigan.
Most of his problems are with corn in pockets saturated for an extended period from as much as 10 inches or more of rain in late June and early July. He said it was especially wet in his more fertile soil, which takes longer to dry out than his sandier ground.
“The ears are smaller than what we’d like to see,” he said.
He said some corn growers nearby who didn’t experience quite as much rain are seeing better results but nothing close to record yields. “That’s what a lot of guys in our area are saying even where it was good,” he said.
Schafer gave a B+ to the amount of soybeans he’s bringing in, though. He would have given a perfect score to his soybeans had it not been for yields being down in spots impacted more by the heavy early summer rain.
“The soybeans are pretty good. It’s not something I would have bet on in June,” Schafer said.
The results appear a bit more encouraging in Washington County at the far southern end of the state.
Danielle Walker, an educator with the Purdue Extension office in Salem, reported nothing out of the ordinary in terms of yields locally.
“I haven’t heard anybody say anything negative but I haven’t heard anybody say I my gosh I’ve have the best crop I’ve ever had,” she said.
According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the latest projection for Indiana corn is 194 bushels per acre. That’s seven bushels more than last year but three bushels less than what was forecast the previous month.
Total corn production in the state is predicted to be 1.02 billion bushels, or 4 percent above last year’s total. If the expectation is realized, this will be the highest Indiana corn yield on record, according to NASS.
NASS projected Indiana soybean yields unchanged from the previous month’s forecast at 60 bushels per acre. Total soybean production in the state is predicted to be 341 million bushels, which would also set a record.
Schafer said slightly more than 50 percent of his corn and about 40 percent of his soybeans are in.
His corn reached maturity a little early this year and the ground was dry enough for him to start bringing it in sooner. However, recent heavy rains have forced Schafer and other farmers in parts of the state out of their fields until things dry out a bit.
As long as there are no upcoming weather extremes, Schafer said there’s still a very good chance of him being finished with harvesting by no later than Halloween or first week in November.
Walker said close to 50 percent of the corn and soybeans in her county have been harvested. She also said the harvest there was going well until recent precipitation drove farmers out of their fields.
“It’s been pretty wet.  That slowed some things down, but I think everything is still on track,” Walker said.
Schafer said he’s also had issues with ears of corn being on the ground from weakened stalks breaking from things like high winds. Apparently, he said, some plants, from lack of nutrients, began drawing what they needed from their stalks to fill out the ears.
He’s reluctant to issue a final grade, especially on his corn, because yields could be higher from the crop still out in his fields. “It’s still largely an incomplete. So, we’ll see,” he said.