The rain has been generous, the heat is set on “perfect,” and now the tassels are beginning to fly.
The weather so far this summer has been a farmer’s blessing for corn in Ohio, and soybeans and wheat are following the trend. Should current conditions continue, a banner season could be predicted.
“I think, so far, we’ve had ideal growing conditions. We’ve had adequate rain and good heat. So far, so good,” reported Roy Norman, organizational director for the local Four County Farm Bureau. He said, unlike other, less stable years, planting occurred on time, with corn and soybeans in the ground by June. Norman said corn planted mid-to-late April has already started to tassel.
And while soybeans are still in the early development stage, “I’m starting to see some soybeans flower too, which means the process has started to make pods,” he said.
Soybeans are typically harvested in mid-September, and corn soon after that. Norman said good yields could be in the forecast if the sublime farming weather continues.
“It looks like we could be heading for that kind of year if the weather continues to hold. I’m very optimistic,” he said. “You just keep hoping for adequate rainfall, especially with corn in the next two to three weeks. Weather can turn any time. We can shut off and get dry. So, yeah, it’s always a worry what the weather’s going to be.”
Regardless of the nervous hitch farmers often feel regarding the elements, Brad Reynolds, a spokesperson for the Ohio Corn and Wheat Association, is equally enthusiastic about the growing season.
“We’ve had good rain, and the heat of summer has obviously helped that corn crop get out of the ground,” he said. “We have a long way to go but it’s got off to a great start. It’s really shot up.”
He said a state report he recently perused showed that over 80% of Ohio’s corn crop has been rated good to excellent, despite a few areas where wetter weather put corn a bit behind the eight ball.
“We’re off to a really good start,” Reynolds said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has predicted a yield of about 171 bushels of corn per acre if the great weather conditions remain.
“But, of course, if we continue to have great weather you’ll see that go up,” Reynolds said. “We’re encouraged. We’re looking at a really good wheat harvest this year, just to go along with the weather being almost ideal in Ohio for growing this spring. We’re excited, were happy, and we just hope Mother Nature continues to cooperate. We’re also realistic, so we’ll see where we end up.”
Reynolds also lauded the wheat crop being harvested, which is showing signs of 76 bushels per acre, although some farmers are reporting as much as 100 bushels or more per acre.
In fact, the wheat harvest that began July 2-3 in Fulton County is revealing a bumper crop, the likes of which haven’t been seen in years, according to Eric Richer, Fulton County OSU Extension Educator for Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“We’re having above-average wheat yields in the county. Our wheat yields are some of the best wheat yields we’ve had,” he said. “More farmers are breaking the 100-bushel yield mark this year than I’ve known in the past.”
Richer attributes the gain to good planting conditions last fall and an adequate winter without severe cold.
As for corn and soybeans, they planted very timely in 2021, he said.
“We’re off to a pretty good start across the county. We’ve had the fewest replant acres of corn and soybeans than in the last few years. Everything went in the ground and was planted in pretty good condition,” Richer said.
In good enough condition, he said, to bring the corn to waist level by July 4th, shattering the well-known growth measuring standard. “We at least doubled the old adage, ‘Knee-high by the Fourth of July’ with regard to corn,” Richer said.
Soybeans are also looking good, although recent rains have caused some low-lying ponding. “But generally, we have been getting a nice rain shower every week across the county since June…As of the last three to four weeks our weather has been quite suitable for growing corn and soybeans,” he said.
Richer said farmers will have to watch for disease caused by high humidity and warmer temperatures, both conducive to diseases existing. “Disease loves the humidity. It really thrives in those warm conditions,” he added. “There’s a lot of growing season left, and a lot of things can go right and a lot of things can go wrong.”
As a side note, Roy Norman complimented farmers on the below-average algal bloom this year on Lake Erie.
“That shows that farmers have been paying more attention to phosphorus use, and things like that are beginning to work,” he said.
He said the lower algae level indicates more awareness about the lake and how farmers can improve the quality.
“It’s good for our county,” Norman said.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.