crop yields

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’s corn and soybean industries are pushing back against a New York Times investigation that alleges genetically modified crops, or GMOs, haven’t done what they set out to do.

Companies like Monsanto made GMOs a mainstay in agriculture 20 years ago, by altering corn and soybeans to kill pests and withstand chemical use.

Valerie Everett / https://www.flickr.com/photos/valeriebb/273444106

 

Indiana farmers aren't harvesting quite as much corn as expected this year — but they should still have record yields for soybeans.

As of this month, the USDA is expecting Indiana soybean yields of 59 bushels per acre. It's even better than their initial forecast, and it beats 2014's state record.

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.

Annie Ropeik / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Purdue University cut the ribbon Monday on a $15 million plant research center that's the first of its kind in North America.

Researchers at the new Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center will study the growing habits of cash crops at the school's 1,400-acre research farm.

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

Things are looking up for the quality of this year's corn and soybeans in Indiana and around the Midwest.

That's according to the latest numbers from the USDA, which could be good news for farmers in a year with a bumper harvest in the forecast.

That would mean more supply for the same demand, which might cause lower prices at the grocery store -- but could also mean less money for farmers.

Courtesy Purdue University

A major new plant science lab at Purdue University has gotten funding approval from the state.

Researchers at the $6.25 million Controlled Environment Phenotyping Facility will study how to make cash crops grow better in a high-tech setting.

Purdue already has a lab that studies the traits of plants -- from their visible parts down to their DNA.

But that lab is outside, at the school's research field -- which is what will set the new facility apart, according to phenomics director April Agee Carroll.

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.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA

Second-generation West Lafayette farmer Kevin Underwood has three tractors he uses to farm 1,600 acres of land – one is several decades old, another he bought just a few years ago. But while his 30 year old tractor still works well, Underwood says the system taxing what that tractor produces does not.

“The bind we’re in at this point is we’ve got income level going down and taxes and input costs continuing to go up,” Underwood says.

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David Wright / https://www.flickr.com/photos/dhwright/14934151279

The truck traffic at Kokomo Grain Company is constant.

"We will process between 400 and 500 trucks a day in the 12-14 hour day at this facility," says Senior Grain Merchandiser Mike Silver.

He says all of the truckloads of corn and soybeans can add up to 750,000 bushels per day. Trucks dump the grain quickly, but a long line soon snakes around the Kokomo Grain’s entrance.

Indiana and several other Midwestern states are poised to break records with this year’s yields, so the grain elevators here are already halfway full.

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