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Spring Rain, Dry Summer Affect Farmer’s Harvest

Heavy spring rains delayed planting for a majority of the region’s corn farmers. Now, after a hot, dry summer, harvest yields are low.

Five months ago farmer Trevor Glick was worried he wasn’t going to get his crops in the ground.

“We usually like to plant mid April, and we started mid-May, there was a three and a half day window we were able to plant and then everything was finished the first of June, so that was 30 to 40 days behind planting,” he says.

For Glick, who farms 1800 acres with his brother, the flooding problems quickly turned to drought problems. This summer was one of the driest on record.

Then there was the heat. 90-degree days helped the corn mature quicker. The upside of that is Glick is now ahead of schedule on harvesting. But the downside is the quality of the corn has suffered.

“If we would have had good pollination, this would have been extended as long as the other one and filled with kernels,” Glick says as he compares 2 ears of corn.

And that means less corn. According to a report the USDA released Tuesday, in 2010, 4 percent of the states corn was considered to be in very poor condition. This year that number has increased to 10 percent meanwhile the percentage of corn in good condition is down 14 percent over last year.

Indiana Farm Bureau Director of Industry Relations Bob Cherry says those numbers are estimates and vary drastically from one part of the state to another.

“This year we haven’t had the rain during the late summer months, for the most part. However, throughout the state there are spots where they got rain so yields are all over the place,” he says.

Cherry estimates Indiana farms have lost 5 to 10 bushels of corn per acre because of the weather. The Glicks, who also grow soybeans and wheat, say those crops have faired better. Farm insurance and early season yield estimates have helped protect their revenues.

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