Drought Took Toll On Crops – Farmers Hopeful For Decent Harvest

Farmers will be out in the fields soon for the corn and soybean harvest and they’re looking for good news in the fields this summer.

The drought conditions have taken a toll on crops this year. Gene Matzat from the LaPorte County Extension Office said he’s hasn’t heard of any farmers losing their entire crop in the Northern Indiana area.

“Here in LaPorte County, we estimated an 18 percent loss,” stated Matzat. “We still have to wait to see what the harvest actually turns up.”

A farmer had to report at least a 30 percent loss to be eligible for federal aid.

“LaPorte County didn’t qualify directly for corn, but there were several other crops like hay and some fruit crops that did match or exceed that 30 percent loss,” said Matzat.

Matzat said the mint farmers also had a loss in crops.

“The mint farmers had an early start for the year. Things looked fairly good, but then when the weather turned dry, it really affected the growth of the mint crop because the mint plants have a shallow rooting system. Unless they’re on soil that has lot of moisture, like the muck fields or supplemental irrigation, the mint will suffer like all of the other crops,” Matzat said.

The harvest should be ahead of schedule this year.

“The latest report from the National AG Statistics Service indicates that 58 percent of the corn is already just before maturity and that compares to about 17 percent last year and the five year average is 25 percent,” said Matzat.

Matzat believes farmers are bracing for lower yields this year.

“After getting off to a very early start with planting this year, farmers had high expectations, but because of that dry weather in late May, June and early July, that will impact corn yields that was on unirrigated ground on sandy soil. Farmers are hoping for probably 70 or 80 bushels per acre on that sandy ground. Where corn has been irrigated, it will probably do much better than that,” Matzat said.