Photo: David Cornwell (flickr)
Indiana’s corn and soybean farmers are experiencing a huge turnaround from last year’s drought-ravaged fields, as a new report forecasts near-record level production.
At this time last year, only 7 percent of Indiana’s corn crop was rated good to excellent. A U.S. Department of Agriculture crop report released Monday rates 76 percent of Hoosier corn as good to excellent.
The report predicts that will turn into more than 979.4 million bushels of corn come harvest time, falling just short of a record of 980 million bushels set in 2007. That would be a 64 percent increase in production from 2012.
The USDA is also predicting farmers will harvest 3.26 billion bushels of soybeans, compared with 3 billion bushels last year.
Purdue agronomist Bob Nielsen says farmers have plenty of reasons to smile, though he cautions good weather conditions are necessary over the new few weeks for the crop to turn out as well as predicted.
“We either need to continue getting rainfall enough to avoid slipping over the edge or we need these continued moderate temperatures to avoid slipping over the edge,” he says.
Purdue agricultural economist Chris Hurt says while high crop production will drive down prices, consumers won’t necessarily see a reduction in their grocery bill.
“Eighty percent of the cost in our retail food is all the marketing, the processing, the transportation, the retailing services that we get. So it’s very hard for the 20 percent, when it goes down – the farm value – to really draw a lower food cost,” he says.
Still, Hurt says strong crop production nationwide should help slow the increase in food prices as early as this fall.