Corn production expected to set record

Ariana van den Akker/The Herald
Austin Kunz of Dubois made sure the truck didn't overflow as it was filled with corn harvested from his family's land in Dubois earlier this season.

By TONY RAAP
Herald Staff Writer

Timely rains and a cool summer have led to a bumper crop, with some farmers saying this fall has been one of the finest harvests they have ever seen.

Corn production in Indiana is expected to set a record, with an estimated yield of 174 bushels per acre, according to a report released last week by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. The record of 171 bushels per acre was set four years ago.

The estimates were not broken down by county. Instead, the state was grouped into nine regions. Dubois County was part of the 12-county southwest district.

The district’s projected corn yield is 175 bushels per acre, up from 68 last year when a severe drought caused broad devastation in the Corn Belt. The five-year average is 137.5 bushels per acre.

“Basically, it’s one of the best harvests ever,” said Steve Hasenour, who co-owns the St. Anthony Mill, which buys corn and sells animal feed.

This fall, Hasenour has heard farmers boast that their fields have produced as much as 250 bushels of corn per acre.

Norman Schue, who owns a farm near Ferdinand, raved about the harvest. For some farmers, the yield is two or three times higher than last year.

“We had rains at the right time, and the corn came up good,” Schue said. “You couldn’t wish for a better crop.”

Joe Knies, who farms corn and soybeans near Jasper, finished harvesting this week. He said his yield was “well above average” largely because “the weather cooperated this year.”

The summer months were cooler than usual. Last year, farmers complained that their crops suffocated in the heat.

A rainy spring delayed this year’s planting season, which led to a late harvest. But the slow start didn’t derail crop yields as some had feared.

Nationally, corn production is expected to break records, reaching 14 billion bushels, about a billion more than the all-time high set in 2007.

Larger yields will lead to lower crop prices, which skyrocketed because of last year’s drought. The National Agricultural Statistics Service predicts that corn will fetch $4.50 per bushel compared with $6.89 per bushel in 2012.

Soybean estimates also are up. Production in the U.S. is expected to reach 3.26 billion bushels, which would be the third-largest crop on record.

In Indiana, soybeans are projected to yield 50 bushels per acre compared to 44 bushels per acre last year. The record is 51.5 bushels set in 2004. The price of soybeans figures to be $12.15 per bushel compared to $14.40 last year.

Chris Hurt, a Purdue Extension agricultural economist, said strong demand from China and other parts of the world has kept soybean prices high.

“Soybeans could be a stabilizing influence in farm incomes,” Hurt said. “It’s never just about the size of the crop but what buyers you have and at what price they will pay for it.”

Contact Tony Raap at traap@dcherald.com.




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