Ohio Harvest Boosted By Summer Rains

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Ohio farmers expect this year's corn and soybean harvest to reach near records.(Photo: Don O'Brien)
Ohio farmers expect this year's corn and soybean harvest to reach near records.(Photo: Don O'Brien)

The fall harvest in Ohio will be in full swing in another week or two and farmers are excited. Plentiful summer rains will probably mean a near-record corn crop. It’s a substantial improvement over last year’s drought-plagued growing season.

At Carr Farms just outside Washington Court House in Fayette County, David Carr is preparing to harvest what farmers already know is going to be a bumper crop. Carr pulls an ear of corn from a corn stalk.

David Carr, corn farmer  and president of the Fayette County Farm Bureau.

David Carr, corn farmer and president of the Fayette County Farm Bureau.

“This here is real good. You got nice rows. Kernels are fully developed. You don’t see a bunch of misses and blanks so this is a really good ear here,” Carr says.

Across the county feed corn yields will be near-record and soy beans will be above average. It’s a big improvement over last year, says Carr, who is president of the Fayette County Farm Bureau.

“Last year it was dry; a lot dryer than it was this year. We held our rains in ‘til late; which our corn did real good this year, we’re looking at a real good corn crop. Beans, they took a little bit on the chin, they didn’t get the rains they needed to in late August and early September to totally fill out but they’ll do real good this year,” Carr says.

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Ten miles down the road, in the village of Sabina, John Surber is preparing for the harvest. Surber owns the local grain elevator company.

‘We’re very excited about the harvest, particularly on the corn side because I believe that for Southern Ohio and most of Ohio we are going to harvest one of the best crops that we have ever had. It did get out a little late but we had wonderful rains through most of the summer and when everything started drying up in August the crop was pretty well finished. While a few more rains would have certainly helped the beans, I think the corn’s going to be great,” Surber says.

Fayette County Corn and Windmill.

Fayette County Corn and Windmill.

Ohio sits on the eastern edge of the American Corn Belt.

“We are the proverbial tail of the dog,” says Matt Roberts.

Roberts is an Ohio State University agricultural economist who says Ohio is a relatively small producer.

“Ohio plants about 9 million acres of row crops a year and corn and soybeans account for – depending on the year – between 8 and 8 ½ million of those acres,” Roberts says.

Illinois, for example, has 24 million acres of crops. Nevertheless, the prices Ohio farmers get for corn depends on the nationwide yield. Ohio rains have been abundant but that hasn’t been the case for a lot of U.S. corn growers. That means yields will be down and prices up.

As he drives around Fayette County Adam Shepard likes what he sees. Shepard is the local Ohio State University Extension agent.

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“The farmers and producers in the area really have to be good mangers and users of the money. The farmers usually only get paid a couple of times during the year; they’re operating spring through summer with the income from the last harvest. So a bad year can really play games with the amount of money that you have to put back into the crop for the next year,” Shepard says.

Though crop insurance has helped farmers smooth out the bumps, they are still at the mercy of weather. This is ag economist Matt Roberts.

“I believe that it was in Sense and Sensibility that the advice was given, ‘You can always talk about the roads and the weather.’ In the modern 21st century, we’re blessed with a pretty good set of roads; we still haven’t fixed the weather,” Roberts says

And it seems the weather will have the last word with this year’s soy beans. Again John Surber.

“We’re still waiting on the weather. Hopefully we can keep the frost at bay; if we can get three more weeks before a frost, we’ll be home-free in the soy beans,” Surber says.

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