Weather conditions for this year’s corn and soybean crops have been ideal and all signs indicate that Livingston County farmers are on track to having above average yields.
Weather conditions for this year’s corn and soybean crops have been ideal and all signs indicate that Livingston County farmers are on track to having above average yields. More than four inches of rain fell in Livingston County during the first 10 days of August. A 2.5-inch soaking rain came last Wednesday. “The potential is here for good yields,” said David Meneely, county executive director for the U.S. Farm Service Agency. “With our August rainfall, we are getting close to normal. Now, we need normal temperatures and normal rainfall.” Farmers planted around 100,000 acres of soybeans this year and, if favorable weather conditions continue, yields should be in the 40-to-50 bushels-per acre range, and individual producers could see records of 60 bushels per acre, or more. Average for the county is 35 to 40 bushels per acre. Beans currently are blooming and putting on pods, and harvest is forecast for late September and early October. July’s cool weather was beneficial for crops and pastures when the area received little precipitation. “The cooler weather helped when we weren’t getting much rain,” Meneely said. “It reduced the stress level and made the moisture stay with us longer.” The cool weather and moisture created favorable conditions for the county’s 25,000 acres of corn and is setting the stage for a banner year. The record corn harvest was set in 2004, when the county average was 141 bushels per acre. Meneely said that based on current conditions, there is a potential for local producers to meet or exceed that record. “You still have to get it in the bin, but the potential is certainly there now,” he said. Because local producers were able to plant corn early this year, harvest could start as early as next month. “It matured early and conditions have been favorable all the way through,” Meneely said. Many years, there is a significant amount of late-planted corn, but there is not much this year because of the ideal spring conditions. Meneely stated that the local area is still feeling effects from the 2012 drought, and subsoil moisture levels are down. Precipitation is about six inches below normal and trees and shrubs haven’t fully recovered from the drought, according to Meneely. Corn and soybean yields were 20 to 40 percent lower than average in 2012, and last year’s yields were about average. Above average yields are a “mixed blessing,” Meneely said. “It’s nice to raise a crop, but when we do that and everyone else does, the price goes down,” he said, noting that corn and soybean prices have dropped 20 percent compared to a year ago.