County seeing high corn yields

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

By JIM MAURER - The region's corn and soybean harvest is nearly complete, and fall-planted winter wheat has emerged. Fall keeps farmers busy in northwestern Ohio.

Many farmers are "excited about the corn yield," said Ed Lentz, Hancock County's Ohio State University Extension educator for agriculture and natural resources. But "not so much" about soybeans.

There have been many reports of corn yields exceeding 200 bushels an acre, Lentz said. He cautiously estimated the average Hancock County yield at about 170 bushels per acre.

For corn, the spring planting conditions were "ideal," Lentz said, with dry conditions and sufficient moisture. There was not too much moisture, he said, allowing the corn plants' root systems to develop well.

During corn's pollination period, temperatures were not too high, he said.

The developed root systems allowed the corn plants to survive the August heat, Lentz said, and there were no significant disease or insect problems.

But, two weather events did cause some problems for this year's crop, he said.

In mid-June, high winds left some corn stalks leaning, mainly in northwestern Hancock County. Most stalks were able to recover, he said, although some stalks broke near the ear.

Then in early July, repeated rains came. Even without flooding conditions, standing water was a problem in some fields because roots need oxygen to thrive, he said.

Lentz said it has been hard to determine a county yield average, or a range of yields, because officials are not hearing from farmers with lower corn yields.

His estimate of about 170 bushels per acre would not quite match the record of more than 170 bushels an acre recorded in 2011.

Neil Clark, who farms in the northern part of Hancock County, finished his harvest the last week of October.

He said the corn harvest was "real good" with some fields exceeding 200 bushels an acre. He said the quality was "excellent."

Clark did have some spots that were "drowned out" by summer rains, and some "goose neck" stalks, those bent over by the high winds.

Farmers were not as happy about the soybean yields this year, Lentz said, because of the July rains and little August moisture, when beans need water to develop.

The repeated rains in July saturated the ground, he said, and soybeans do not like standing water, as nitrogen could not develop in the plant. It was especially a problem in fields with poor drainage, he said.

Clark said his soybean plants were short, but filled with pods. He said his yields ranged from the high 50s to the low 60s in bushels per acre. He had to spray for aphids.

The aphids in soybeans were not severe, Lentz said. Asian beetles in the soybean fields ate the aphids, which left a large Asian beetle population now seeking a place to winter. They will likely try to enter homes, he said. The best defense is to vacuum and dispose of them.

Harvest-time prices for both corn and soybeans have declined this year. The corn price, for delivery this month, is $3.84 per bushel, while the price for soybeans, for December delivery, was $12.71 per bushel over the weekend at Blanchard Valley Farmers Cooperative's east Findlay elevator.

Good to excellent quality crops were received by Heritage Cooperative in Arlington, and Blanchard Valley Farmers Cooperative's east Findlay main office.

At Heritage, a spokesperson said the average test weight of corn was 57.4 pounds per bushel and the average moisture content was 18.6 percent.

The yield range was 150 to 200 bushels per acre.

At Blanchard Valley Farmers, Mitch Welty, grain manager, said the average test weight of corn was 58.5 pounds per bushel and the average moisture content was 19.5 percent.

The yield range was 165 to 230 bushels per acre, and Welty said corn deliveries at the cooperative will set a record this year.

The price received by farmers is reduced when the corn test weight is below 54 pounds per bushel, or the moisture content exceeds 15 percent.

At Heritage, the average test weight of soybeans was 57.4 pounds per bushel and the average moisture content was 12.9 percent. The yield range was 40 to 50 bushels per acre.

At Blanchard Valley Farmers, the average test weight of soybeans was 56.5 pounds per bushel and the average moisture content was 13 to 13.5 percent. The average soybean yield was in the mid-40s, Welty said.

The price received by farmers is reduced when the soybean test weight is below 54 pounds per bushel or the moisture content exceeds 13 percent.