“As one producer said, ‘The dust is blowing in the fields again this year.’”
That quote from David Meneely, Livingston County Executive Director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Farm Services Agency, sums up the problems producers are facing just weeks from harvest time. Despite a wetter-than-normal May, which forced some to plant soybeans multiple times, the Summer season has seen very little moisture. The dry conditions, coupled with extremely hot temperatures, have had negative effects on crop production across the area.
“Every day we hit 100 degrees, we’re losing yield,” Meneely explained. “Soybeans are still in the growth stage, so they’re going down every day. We’re going to fall below the county average. What I’ve measured has been less than two-tenths of rain (as of Friday, Aug. 30). The normal is about four inches. The month of August this year is actually dryer than the month of August last year.”
Meneely said corn harvesting should begin by mid-September with soybean harvest to begin near the end of the month. He said a good portion of the corn production could be used for silage, as it was last season.
“If the crop's not going to produce much in the way of corn, they can actually go in and chop the entire stalk,” Meneely said. “They can store it, and it actually ferments and can be used as cattle feed.”
Meneely said regardless of what congress does or does not do with the Farm Bill this month, area producers can expect annual payments around the first of October.
“Our current Farm Bill expires at the end of September,” Meneely explained. “We’re looking for maybe an extension of the Farm Bill again for a year or two years. The payment cycle for this year's program should go on in early October anyway.”