IBJNews

Rain aids Indiana soybeans, but Isaac worries farmers

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana's drought-stressed soybean crop has gotten a late-season boost from recent rainfall, which should lessen the financial impact of the state's worst drought in decades by increasing yields in many fields, a Purdue University farm expert said Wednesday.

August's rainfall is expected to lift Indiana's average soybean yield to 39 bushels per acre, or two bushels higher than what the federal government projected on Aug. 10, said Purdue agricultural economist Chris Hurt. Although those yields would still be significantly less than Indiana's 20-year average soybean yield, he said farmers hard-hit by the drought are eager to get as much as they can out of their crops.

"Soybeans are sometimes called the miracle crop — they really can recover, and every little bit will help," Hurt said.

While additional rain could further ratchet up soybean yields, Indiana farmers will be watching closely this weekend as the remnants of Hurricane Isaac sweep across the state.

If that system drops several inches of rain in a short period and brings gusty winds, some corn plants weakened by the drought could topple or lean over, creating complications for the fall harvest, Hurt said. A deluge would also leave the state's fields muddy and crops at greater risk of plant diseases.

"If that happens, we're probably talking about moving fields from drought into mud," he said.

Mark Dahmer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis, said Wednesday that Isaac's remnants are expected to reach the state Friday night and linger over the weekend.

He said rainfall amounts will likely be between two and three inches, with isolated amounts of four to five inches or higher. Winds should be only about 15 mph, with gusts probably up to 25 mph, but the storm's likely impact won't become clearer until Thursday, Dahmer said.

Morgan County grain farmer Jeff Thomas said Wednesday that he and other farmers are concerned that Isaac's remnants could deliver too much rain too late in the growing season and create long-lasting flooding.

"Everybody's really starting to worry. If we get all this water they're talking about, we'll have to deal with flooding, especially in fields along rivers. The rivers just can't hold all of that water," he said.

Thomas, 52, said August's rainfall has so far helped some of the late-planted soybeans among the 4,600 acres of corn and soybeans he farms near Paragon, about 35 miles south of Indianapolis.

Nonetheless, Thomas expects to get yields from only about half of his soybeans fields and a third of his corn acreage because so many of his fields succumbed during the drought's peak. He's hoping his surviving soybeans continue to improve.

"I'll be honest, if my whole farm averages 25 bushels for soybeans, I'll be tickled to death," he said.

Hurt said northern Indiana has benefited the most from August's rains, but relief has reached parts of southern Indiana in recent weeks.

The rain came too late to help the state's corn crop, however. Corn's crucial and short pollination stage occurs in July, but the extreme drought and sweltering heat dramatically cut the crop's yield potential by reducing the seeds on corn ears, Hurt said.

The federal government's Aug. 10 crop forecast called for Indiana to see an average yield of 100 bushels an acre, or about 40 percent less than the state's 20-year average of 165 bushels per acre.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

ADVERTISEMENT