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Indiana Farmers Bracing for Heat Wave in Midst of Drought


Heat is going to kill us. Those are the words of Sonny Beck, president of Indiana based Beck’s Hybrids. Beck provided a seed corn update this week and another impending heat wave is what concerns him most about future seed supplies.

“We have enough irrigation and we have enough water holding capacities in soils that we’ll have two-thirds of a crop if it almost didn’t rain again,” he said. “But heat kills us. That’s what killed us last year. Our pollen, we only have maybe 10, 15 percent as much in the field and it all looks like little bubbles that killed by heat. So when you hit 100 or 95 degrees we don’t get pollination. Sweet corn people didn’t get pollination already, you’re seeing that, and that is what will kill the seed crop.”

So, it very well could be a short year. Joining Beck in Atlanta for a panel discussion were other farmer leaders in Eastern Corn Belt states, including Kevin Wilson from Cass County. He fears time is running out for rains to help the corn crop.

“The corn in the morning still looks pretty decent. It’s got good color. We are probably about 3/4th of my corn right now is starting to tassel. The beans have been just hanging in there trying to do what they can do. I’ve kept thinking we’ll be ok if we get some rain, but the time is starting to run out. We’re gonna need a little something pretty quick and I’m almost scared to death what it’s going to look like by about Saturday after the next 3 days of 100 degree temperatures. It’s not going to look to good.”

Madison County farmer Mike Shuter expects a tight corn crop with issues related to weather for both early and late planted corn.

“I think the later planted stuff is really going to struggle unless it can hang on until we do get a rain. Real early planted stuff that’s tasseling right now, I’ve got a good friend that raises a lot of sweet corn and I heard Monday night that he was going to mow down ten acres of that because there just wasn’t anything there because it didn’t pollinate right.

“We’re going to hear all kinds of horror stories,” Shuter predicts. “Last weekend there was a fellow at our place from south of Cincinnati who came up I-74 and was already seeing some stuff being disced under along 74.”[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/06/Crop-outlook-from-Becks-farmer-panel.mp3|titles=Crop outlook from Becks farmer panel]

Listen to Sonny Beck’s seed corn outlook:[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/06/Sonny-Beck-2012-seed-corn-prospects.mp3|titles=Sonny Beck 2012 seed corn prospects]

Farmer crop outlook with Chad Kemp, Ohio; Kevin Wilson, Indiana; Karl Spencer, Illinois; Bernard Peterson, Kentucky; Paul Taylor, Illinois; Mike Shuter, Indiana; Rob Joslin, Ohio:[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/06/Becks-panel-crop-outlook.mp3|titles=Becks panel crop outlook]