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Farmers Rethink Insurance And Drought-Resistant Crops

As farmers begin to harvest crops that have been devastated by the drought, many are looking for ways to avoid similar difficulties next year.

soybeans field

Photo: WFIU/WTIU News

Soybeans have fared better than other crops in Indiana because of a late summer rain.

For months, agriculture experts have said the summer drought would affect farmers’ bottom lines, but it may also cause some growers to rethink next year. As farmers have harvested their crops, they have learned just how bad the drought was.

Agronomist Bob Nielsen says the lack of rain sapped roughly 38 percent of the normal yield per acre of corn.

“For Indiana on a statewide basis this year if we had, had a normal year or a typical year we would have expected the state average yields of corn to be a 161 bushels, instead he says the USDA estimate for Indiana state corn crop is 100 bushels per acre,” Nielsen says.

Nielsen says soybean yields are doing better than corn, because of the late summer rain. But Tanya Hall, co-owner of Hall Farm in Paoli, says she uses some of that to feed her swine. They are not eating well either, because almost 90 percent of her crops were decimated by the drought.

“It’s affecting the amount of corn and soy beans that we can have that we can feed to our pigs,” Hall says. “And there’s always a possibility that we may have to get out of the hog business because of the lack of corn and soy beans that we have on our operation and the expense it would take to purchase it for the feed. And so it’s had quite a dramatic effect on us.”

Hall says farmers are now double-checking what their insurance covers and looking at hybrid and drought resistant crops for next year.

Shameka Neely

Shameka Neely, a native of Nashville, Tennessee enthusiastically joined WTIU as Senior Reporter/ InFocus Producer in the news department. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational and Corporate Communication, with a minor in Marketing and Masters of Arts Degrees' in Administrative Dynamics and Communication all from Western Kentucky University. Shameka also holds a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from Indiana University.

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