Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 18, 2012

Drought impacted corn, but beans recovered

Local farmers: Crop better than expected

By Ken de la Bastide
Tribune staff writer

— The most severe drought to hit Indiana in decades caused a reduction in the corn yield this year, but late summer rains saved the soybean crop locally.

The price of both corn and soybean have declined over the past two days as the estimated yield figures for the country have increased, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A bushel of corn was bringing $7.43 and beans was selling at $13.93 per bushel Wednesday.

Bob Nielson, a corn specialist with Purdue University, said for most of Indiana the drought was serious.

He said there are large areas of the state where the yield was 100 bushels per acre, about 38 percent below a normal harvest.

“There were areas around Kokomo that caught some rain,” Nielson said. “There were also parts of northwest Indiana that received some late rain.”

The drought conditions had a greater impact on the corn yield than for soybeans, he said.

Nielson said the recent rains have started to replenish the soil moisture.

“We have been fortunate, the rain is recharging the soil moisture reserves,” Nielson said. “We’re in better shape than the states to the west of us.”

Over 80 percent of the corn crop has already been harvested.

“There are pockets where the corn has not been harvested,” Nielson said. “Either the fields are too muddy or the farmers are waiting for nature to dry the grain.”

Mike Silver, senior crop merchandiser for Kokomo Grain, said locally the corn crop is probably down about 30 percent. He said the soybean yields are better and the crop benefited from the late rains.

“It wasn’t as bad as it could have been,” Silver said of the 2012 harvest when it looked like the drought would have a bigger impact on the local yields.

He said the harvest in the Howard County area is mostly wrapped up, with some small pockets still to be harvested.

“Here in Indiana we have replaced a lot of the soil moisture, but we could use more rain,” Silver said, “The western corn belt needs rain to restore the lost moisture.”