Mixed weather limits Indiana's corn crop

November 5, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - As expected, Indiana's statewide corn crop is down this year after early season flooding followed by several months of drier-than-normal conditions, Purdue Extension corn specialist Bob Nielsen said.

"The unusually dry August and September took its toll on yield potential in many fields, especially those in which corn root development had been compromised by earlier excessive wetness and soil compaction," Nielsen said.

According to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast, Indiana's corn crop overall is expected to be 5.6 percent below normal, with some areas, particularly in the north, suffering losses as high as 20 percent.

The USDA is projecting that Indiana farmers will harvest 848.6 million bushels of corn on an average of 156 bushels per acre. That is down 20 percent from last year's record 1.08 billion bushels on 188 bushels per acre.   

Some areas in the southern part of the state, which was spared much of the record rains and flooding in June and July, are reporting better results.

"Corn yields throughout the state have ranged from total disaster to above average," Nielsen said. "The areas of the state worst affected by the early season excessive moisture performed about as badly as predicted. Areas in the southern part of the state that did not receive as much excessive rainfall, or had better drainage, performed very well."

Although the yield results have been uneven, farmers throughout the state took advantage of the recent dry, mostly mild weather to wrap up the harvest earlier than in recent years, Nielsen said.

As of Monday (Nov. 2), farmers harvested 92 percent of the state's corn crop, compared with a five-year average of 74 percent for the same date, according to the latest USDA Crop Progress report.

"The earlier harvest allowed many growers to perform fall tillage operations in their fields, often deep tillage to break up soil compaction created in the prior 12 months by field operations on wet soils," Nielsen said. "So there should be some benefit next spring."

Writer: Darrin Pack, 765-494-8415, dpack@purdue.edu

Source: Bob Nielsen, 765-494-4802, rnielsen@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; 

Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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