Bob Nielsen

Indiana’s corn harvest is still 10 percent behind schedule as of this week, with soybeans about on track as a year of difficult farming conditions stretches into November.

The unpredictability of this year’s weather may be an unwelcome new normal for Hoosier agriculture, according to Purdue University agronomist Bob Nielsen.

In 2017, Indiana has seen a wet spring and long planting season, an over-warm start to fall and now, rains that are lengthening the multi-billion-dollar grain harvest. Nielsen says data shows extremes like those are becoming increasingly standard.

Indiana is partway into a record-setting cash crop harvest – but months of uneven weather conditions have put some farmers behind.

The state’s soybean crop is 42 percent harvested as of this week, about the same as average. But the corn crop lags at just 24 percent.

Purdue University agronomist Bob Nielsen says wet weather earlier this year forced some farmers to plant late or replant their crops, and cool August temperatures lengthened the growing season.

Hoosier Farmers Begin Planting 2017's Cash Crops

Apr 20, 2017

Hoosiers will see more farm equipment in the fields in the next few weeks, as spring corn and soybean planting ramps up.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects farmers in Indiana and nationwide to plant more soybeans than ever this year, while corn acreage looks to hold steady.

Purdue University agronomist and self-named “corn guy” Bob Nielsen says corn prices are still lackluster, with plenty in storage, and that’s driven soybean prices up.

Bob Nielsen / Purdue University

They say that Indiana corn should be knee-high by the fourth of July.

With changes in how we farm, that isn't really true these days -- but agronomists do say the crop is on track for a strong 2016 harvest.

The self-titled "corn guy" of Purdue University, Bob Nielsen, says the Cass County cornfield where he was scouting a few days before the holiday looked green and healthy -- though:

"It's not knee-high by the fourth of July -- it's head-high," he says.

Joshua Duffy / https://www.flickr.com/photos/joshduffyphoto/7283981926

Indiana’s farmers are expected to produce significantly less corn this year while soybeans didn’t take as bad a hit after flooding that devastated parts of the state. 

Indiana corn crops are expected to decline by about 20-percent from last year, while soybeans are only down 9-percent.  That follows the second-wettest June and July in the state’s recorded history. 

Yet Purdue corn specialist Bob Nielsen says the expected output is a mixed bag across the state.

Ben Loehrke / https://www.flickr.com/photos/benloehrke/

A Purdue expert says despite the Indiana corn crop being planted a bit late, high yields are still likely.

WBAA’s Kristin Malavenda spoke with Purdue Extension corn specialist Bob Nielsen about the outlook for this year’s harvest.