August Storms Welcome for Local Crops

soybeansAugust rains have prompted emergency situations in some portions of the state, but in Northwest Indiana, it may have done some good for corn and soybeans.

Purdue Extension Agricultural Educator Phil Woolery says the area experienced as much as eight inches of rainfall in 24 hours during storms earlier this month. The resulting damage prompted an emergency loan request to the federal government by Governor Mike Pence.

Soybeans were hit hardest by the deluge with Lodging reported in some fields. Woolery says that may make things a bit more difficult come harvest time.

“Due to the fact that we were pretty dry beforehand, most of the rain got soaked up pretty fast,” says Woolery.

More detrimental to corn and soybeans was the dry spell in July and early August. The dry weather was too much for other fields in Starke County with some acreages seeing plants dying during the summer. Woolery notes that includes a very small percentage of the county.

Timely rains in mid-July are considered positive for corn pollination across the northern portion of the state. Dry conditions during the pollination period often leads to smaller kernels. 

Woolery says Northwest Indiana has fared differently than the northeastern portion of the state.

“They were drier than us in the northwestern part and the dry weather hurts us a little more because of a our sandy soils and if you don’t have irrigation, they just dry out more,” says Woolery.

Indiana is predicted to have a better than average crop year in 2016.

As the weeks drag on, Woolery says moisture content in the corn plants will have to reach 15-percent before most fields begin harvesting.