According to the USDA crop production figures released on Wednesday, the damage to Indiana crops from record rainfall this summer has not been as great as anticipated. While production was cut, the forecast was more optimistic than many farmers and the market had anticipated. The USDA is projecting that this fall Indiana farmers will harvest 867.4 million bushels of corn on an average of 158 bushels per acre. That is down 20 percent from last year’s record 1.08 billion bushels on 188 bushels per acre. Indiana soybean farmers were projected to bring in 278.8 million bushels on 49 per acre, down 9.3 percent from last year when they produced the state’s second-largest crop of 307.4 million bushels on 56 per acre.
Some areas of the state were hit much harder than others, and some individual fields had both heavily damaged sections as well as areas that will produce good yields, noted Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of the Purdue College of Agriculture. “The bottom line is that yields will be off and we’ll see a lot of variability across the state,” said Akridge, who moderated a panel of experts analyzing the USDA’s August Crop Production Report at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Some farmers in attendance expressed skepticism regarding the USDA report and feel future reports will reveal lower yields and less planted acres
Bob Nielsen, Purdue Extension corn specialist, said he was comfortable with the USDA yield projection for Indiana, but stressed there is still a long way to go until harvest, “We need to have some timely August rains if we are going to hold these yield levels.” He told HAT shallow root systems and nitrogen shortages are impacting the corn crop in Indiana to a great extent. “It is a case of the haves and the have nots,” said Greg Matli, Indiana state statistician of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, who said a regional breakdown of crop conditions in the state shows that some areas were hit very hard by the wet weather and others are having very good crops.
Chris Hurt, Purdue Extension agricultural economist, said this will be a very difficult year financially for Hoosier farmers, “Lower crop prices and lower yields will hit growers with cash rent contracts very hard. With a 20% crop loss, we could see growers with a $200 per acre negative margin.” Hurt said Indiana crop loss could total over $400 million dollars. Ted McKinney, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, noted this will be very difficult on young farmers and that ISDA is looking into ways to provide helpful resources for financially stressed producers.