The unseasonably cool, wet weather much of the Corn Belt experienced this year has led to delays in harvest, the National Corn Growers Association said this week, commenting on new reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that growers are 22 percentage points behind the five-year average for corn acreage harvested at this time.
With further rain predicted, many farmers may not be able to compensate for delays in the near future.
Despite the fact that the USDA projects a record corn yield and near-record corn production, its crop progress report released Tuesday indicates that weather is delaying significant progress harvesting in many parts of the country.
States such as Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky have seen area harvested lag 35 percent behind average. Illinois, whose harvest has been affected most significantly, has harvested only 6 percent of corn acres grown. On average, producers in that state have completed 56 percent of their corn harvest by October 11. The corn harvest has not begun as of yet in North Dakota.
“It is going to take a lot of propane to get the crop dry enough. This could seriously cut into our bottom line,” said NCGA board member Martin Barbre, an Illinois grower. “While it is improbable, we could really use about six to eight weeks of dry weather. In Illinois, harvest losses are becoming an issues as some hybrids are already dropping a few ears. If we cannot get out in the next few weeks, yields will suffer.”
“This has been the coldest, wettest summer that I have seen in a long time. On our own farm, we have harvested only about 10 percent of our corn crop. Normally, we are almost done by now,” said NCGA board member Garry Niemeyer, an Illinois grower. “In the last week alone, we got another 4 inches of rain. While many farmers are remaining patient in the hopes that corn will dry further, the majority of the drying will be done by Oct. 15. After that, we can really only expect another three to five percent drop in moisture levels.”
Although many growers choose to remain optimistic, continued unfavorable conditions could affect future projections for production, yields and price.