LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Indiana's top crops are in great shape and headed
toward possibly record-breaking yields following one of the slowest and
wettest planting seasons in a decade.
The federal government's crop report released Monday shows 81 percent of
Indiana's corn crop and 75 percent of the state's soybean crop were rated
good to excellent as of Sunday.
Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt said it's too early in
the growing season to make accurate yield estimates for Indiana's corn and
soybeans. But he said the fall harvest could be record breaking if the
positive weather conditions continue.
The concern on experts' minds, however, is whether sweltering temperatures
in the West will shift into the eastern part of the Corn Belt in the weeks
ahead, cutting yields.
"The time period we're coming into is very critical for yield
determination," Hurt told the Journal & Courier. "The last time we had a
crop that looked this positive we have to look back to 2001. So we're
looking at possibly the best crop in a decade, or even something like the
best crop in 15 years."
Last year's crops were hit by a withering drought. That was followed by
this spring's wet weather that kept farmers on the sidelines for weeks.
A.J. Booher, who farms about 3,000 acres of corn and soybeans in
northeastern Tippecanoe County, said the wet spring put him about three
weeks behind in his planting. But he said recent weather has been
"The crops are still a little behind but with the rain and the perfect
weather, I think we've got a pretty good crop coming up," Booher said.
Regardless of Indiana's final crop yields, they should be a significantly
better than those of last year's drought-ravaged crops. Indiana crop
insurance payouts for losses that drought reached a record $1 billion.
Although Indiana's corn and soybean crops are now thriving, Monday's crop
report shows that the state's wheat crop isn't faring as well. Just 32
percent of the state's winter wheat acreage has been harvested, down from
98 percent last year and 69 percent for the five-year average.
Despite harvesting delays, wheat quality is strong, with 76 percent rated
good to excellent at this time.
Purdue Extension wheat specialist Shaun Casteel said high temperatures
helped move the delayed wheat to harvest, but he said the recent rains are
now causing delays.
"Many farmers are anxiously waiting to get back into the field to cut the
wheat and plant double-crop soybeans," he said.