After last year’s severe drought that sabotaged crops across the Midwest, corn farmers all over the country and Indiana were hopeful of this year’s yields.
More corn was planted, and after successful pollination in the first few weeks of the crop, strong yields looked promising for Indiana corn farmers.
But the United States Department of Agriculture Drought Report released last week showed one third of Indiana is abnormally dry and the lack of rainfall and extreme heat at the end of August is causing concern for the once hopeful corn crop.
Bob Nielsen is an Extension Agronomist at Purdue says the late onset drought will be detrimental for some fields but not important to others.
“It’s going to be a real mixed bag this year for yields, and I think it will truly range from record high yields to disappointing yields and that range may even occur within the same county or within a few miles of each other,” he says.
Nielsen says drought at this point in the season is concerning because this is when the kernels are gaining weight and growing to their full size. So if the photosynthesis is interrupted by lack of water, farmers could end up with a lighter load than normal.
“They’re looking at much lower grain price for what they’re going to harvest this year, and so that factor basically accentuates the necessity of getting good yield this year because what you’re harvesting you’re not going to be able to sell it for as much,” he says.
Nielsen said central Indiana has experienced the most consistent drought and could produce the smallest corn yield in the state.