Early yield reports illustrate severity of drought
Crop yields are taking a hit this year because of the drought.
Published: Aug 12, 2012
Curt Niemeyer, who farms south of Humboldt in Coles County, knew his crop yields would take a hit this year because of the drought.
But he didn’t know how big the hit would be until he recently harvested his first field of March-planted corn.
“It was worse than I thought it was going to be,” Niemeyer told FarmWeek.
Moisture readings from Niemeyer’s field ranged from 22 to 27 percent. But he wasn’t specific about the yield on his first 20 acres other than to say, “it was well below average.”
Eric Helgen, a farmer from Montgomery County, in recent weeks harvested a few hundred acres of corn. His crop so far tested 23 percent for moisture and averaged about 96.5 bushels per acre. A normal yield on his farm is 176 bushels per acre.
“I think it’s all about hybrid and soil type (that will determine if farmers have anything to harvest in drought-stressed fields),” Helgen said. “It should be a very quick harvest.”
Some farmers have gotten an early start on harvesting corn due to rapid maturation of the crop. Others are harvesting early to reduce the potential of dropped ears or total collapse of weak cornstalks.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service Illinois field office last week reported 6 percent of the corn crop was mature in the state compared to the five-year average of 1 percent. The majority of the soybean crop (82 percent) was setting pods last week compared to the average of 52 percent.
“The corn is done,” said Ed Gerstenecker, a farmer from Marion County. “A lot of yields in my area will range between zero and 40 bushels.”
Gerstenecker, however, believes some soybean fields still have yield potential after recent rains provided a bit of relief. In fact, he predicted soybeans will out-yield corn in his area.
Gerstenecker’s farm received just 1.5 inches of rain in June, 0.3 of an inch in July, and 0.3 so far this month.
“It’s the driest I’ve ever seen it,” said the veteran farmer of 40 years.
Last week, 74 percent of the state’s corn crop, 57 percent of soybeans, 94 percent of the sorghum crop, and 95 percent of pastures were rated poor or very poor.
Nationwide, nearly 90 percent of the U.S. corn crop is in regions impacted by the drought.
Permalink: Click here