Indiana corn harvest not quite complete; weather no help
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The year is coming to an end and so is corn harvest. Indiana's corn harvest was estimated to be 91 percent complete as of Sunday (Dec. 6) compared to 84 percent complete the previous week, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture's Indiana Field Office final crop report for 2009.
This time last year corn harvest was finished, and the five-year average for corn harvest doesn't extend this far out in the year.
"The last time corn harvest was still going on this late was 1972," said Greg Matli, deputy state statistician for the Indiana Field Office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service, located at Purdue University. "They were slightly more than 50 percent complete. A combination of weather, late crop maturation and field operating problems left farmers struggling to get their crop out of the fields."
Matli said that ideally Indiana farmers would be able to harvest the remaining corn in two and half days.
"At peak harvest, farmers can harvest 4 percent of the crop in one day," Matli said. "Will this happen? No, because the grain is too wet, drying the grain to appropriate moisture levels slows the harvest process, some elevators are at capacity and recent rains have kept the soils muddy.
"If farmers keep harvesting at the same pace they have the last couple weeks, there's at least five more working days left to complete harvest."
Corn acreage in the northern part of the state is 88 percent complete, compared to 91 percent complete in the central region and 97 percent in the south, according to the report. Moisture content of harvested corn continues to average about 21 percent.
Precipitation and cold temperatures are expected to continue into next week, said Ken Scheeringa, associate state climatologist for the Indiana State Climate Office.
"The recent parade of storm systems has kept precipitation in the forecast most every day," he said.
"However, a moderate El Niño weather pattern is under way. For Indiana this usually means a warmer than normal winter will take hold in late December, with drier seasonal conditions in late winter, starting about late January."
Writer: Julie Douglas, 765-496-1050, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Greg Matli, 765-494-8371, email@example.com
Ken Scheeringa, 765-494-8105, firstname.lastname@example.org