Northern Indiana Seed Corn, Commercial Crop Yields Surprising

October 9, 2013 07:40 AM
Northern Indiana Seed Corn, Commercial Crop Yields Surprising

2013 turned into a tough year for northern Indiana farmers. It didn’t rain at all during the months of July and August. While it took some top end yield off the crops, it didn’t steal as much as many growers originally thought.

"The only thing I can think of is the cool weather, the cool nights," says Jason Wykoff, a grower in New Carlisle, Ind. "We weren't as hot. We had some periods of hot and dry, and it is surprising the yields we're continuing to have."

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Wykoff is located in an area heavily planted in seed corn. Not only are yields skyrocketing above last year’s tough season, the seed corn crop is proving to be better than expected.

"This field looks pretty good," says Wykoff. "We see green yields for all growers across the board, up probably 20 to 30 percent from target."

The seed corn may be ready, but most of his commercial acres aren’t. Even though he hasn’t started harvesting any of those fields, he says he’s only about a week behind.

"We have not started any commercial corn, that's still pretty green yet," he says. "Our soybeans, as well, but a lot of guys in our area have been hitting soybeans pretty hard."

Wykoff says yields on his commercial corn will trend higher than normal.

"150 bushel (per acre) for dryland corn," he says. "Guys are probably running about 175 this year. On irrigated corn above 200."

Soybeans are up to 10 bushels over what they normally see.

Wykoff says some yields could have been even higher, but the dry weather, combined with nitrogen ru-off early in the season, caused those hopes to quickly fade.

"We struggled early with probably some nitrogen loss in June and getting nitrogen back on," he says. We had to address which fields had that nitrogen loss and which fields didn't.

Wykoff is trying to preserve the nitrogen he has in the field now by turning to cover crops.

"In this particular field here, we planted some oats and radish," he says. "Basically looking for erosion control and also trying to scavenge some left over nitrogen we have in this field."

While it’s his first year planting radishes, he’s hopeful it pays off next year.

2014, however is already brining a whole new level of challenges.

"Well, commodity prices are a big concern for us right now," says Wykoff. "We feel pretty good about 2013. We’re hedged from that standpoint, but looking forward, that's going to provide some challenges for us."

So, he says more soybeans could be thrown into his commercial crop mix if the price is right.


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