Record Harvest Underway, But Profits Lag Behind Best Years

Sep 27, 2016

 

Ears of corn wait for harvest in September.
Credit accozzaglia dot ca / https://www.flickr.com/photos/aged_accozzaglia/2705768470

Harvest season is beginning for corn and soybeans in Indiana.

The latest USDA numbers say 74 percent of Indiana corn is mature, and 15 percent has been harvested. That's a little better than average. Soybeans are slightly behind, with 9 percent harvested as of this week.

Still, growers are expecting a near-record harvest this fall. Fuel and fertilizer costs have been low, too -- but so have grain prices and crop insurance payouts.

All in all, Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt says Indiana farm revenues should increase by about half a billion dollars over last year. However, with land, equipment and labor costs, he says farmers' profits will still be low.

"So, margins are still gonna be tight for most families," he says. "And for some, especially cash rent tenants, we expect them to be negative this year, again -- but not as negative as last year."

Some Indiana cropland was damaged in floods last year. Hurt says the best years for grain, like 2010 to 2013, had a trifecta -- good weather, good prices and good yields.

Meanwhile, he says warm weather should keep this year's crop healthy while farmers work to bring it to market.

Hurt expects the harvest to last into early November.