corn

Farmers Get Ag-gressive On Soil Health

Dec 7, 2017

A group of companies and nonprofits will provide almost $20 million to conservation groups to improve soil health in Indiana and across the country – a move aimed at putting more money in farmers’ pockets and protecting natural resources.

Money from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, General Mills, Monsanto, and others will go to three conservation groups to better understand soil health. Larry Clemens, the director of The Nature Conservancy’s North America Agriculture Program, says Indiana is already a national leader in soil health.

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

Last week’s heavy rainfall has added more delays to Indiana’s corn harvest.

As of this week, 70-percent of the state’s corn has been harvested – that’s compared to 85-percent at this time last year. That’s even though, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wet conditions have forced farmers to focus on corn instead of completing soybean harvests.

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.

Hoosier Farmers Toil As Corn Harvest Drags On

Oct 24, 2017

Indiana grain farmers are hustling to keep up with harvest as fall progresses.

The soybean crop is on pace with the five-year average as of this week, according to the USDA. But corn is less than half harvested, which is well below average for this time of year.

That’s put large operations like White Oak Farms in Putnam County under the gun to get their corn out of the field before it spoils.

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.

Indiana is set to have unexpectedly big corn and soybean harvests this fall. That means continued tight profit margins for farmers and more low food prices for consumers.

Purdue University agronomists made their annual announcement of the state’s crop production forecast at the State Fair Thursday.

They say yields should better than expected, after weeks of wet, patchy weather. But economist Chris Hurt says that extra supply for the same demand will mean bad prices for Hoosier farmers.

Indiana’s top agriculture official has been tapped to oversee global farm trade for the Trump administration.

Indiana Department of Agriculture director Ted McKinney now faces a Senate confirmation to become the USDA’s first-ever trade undersecretary.

He says he’s grateful for the support he’s received since getting the news.

“I am so honored to be nominated by the president, and I look forward to serving if confirmed,” McKinney says.

Indiana corn growers hope a deal on sugar trade between the U.S. and Mexico will protect their stake in the high-fructose corn syrup industry.

Mexico could slap new tariffs on imports of the syrup if the deal isn’t finalized, and the effects of that tariff could trickle down to farmers.

About a third of all high-fructose corn syrup produced in the U.S. goes to Mexico, and it includes a lot of Hoosier corn. As much as 5-10 percent of Indiana’s corn crop goes to factories that produce the syrup, such as Tate & Lyle in Lafayette.

The $130 billion merger between Dow and DuPont received conditional federal approval Thursday.

The companies still have to address areas where the Department of Justice says they’ll have too big a market share, but those aren’t the areas that have Indiana farmers worried.

In approving the merger, the DOJ says Dow and DuPont have to relinquish control of a few assets – a chemical plant in Texas for Dow, and two of DuPont’s insecticide and herbicide brands.

Indiana’s corn and soybean growers are getting seeds in the ground this week – but more rain on the way could put farmers in a difficult position.

As of Monday, 56 percent of the state’s projected corn crop and 23 percent of the projected soybean crop have been planted.

Pages