A lack of rain has kept many Ohio farmers busy harvesting their crops the past few weeks, local and state agriculture officials report.
“Harvest is moving very rapidly this year due to dry weather,” said Amanda Douridas, the Ohio State University Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources educator for Champaign County.
Preliminary reports on the amount of crops harvested in the county appear to be on the positive end.
“We had a very wet June, although Champaign County fared better than some other counties,” Douridas said. “Some fields had drowned-out areas. Overall, I think yields were better than expected, but the expectation was somewhat lower given the weather challenges.”
As for how the county’s corn and soybean crops fared this year, Douridas said, the final yield numbers won’t be released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture until February.
“I have heard a wide range of yield reports with some really good and some a little low, so I expect county average yields for corn and soybeans to be around the same as last year, maybe a little lower,” she said.
At the state level, Cheryl Turner, a statistician with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Ohio Field Office, stated, “Growers were able to continue harvest at a rapid pace this (past) week due to the dry conditions.”
According to data outlined in the most recent Ohio Crop Progress Report released by the NASS, 55 percent of the state’s corn crop had been harvested for grain as of Oct. 18, well above the five-year average of 34 percent. This time last year, only 22 percent had been harvested.
The report shows 85 percent of the state’s soybean crop has been harvested to date, compared to just 35 percent at this same time in 2014. The five-year average for this time of year is 53 percent.
The dry conditions, however, have affected one crop in particular statewide.
“While the dry weather was good for harvest, the winter wheat needs moisture as soil moisture continued to decline (for week ending Oct. 18),” Turner said.
This year’s winter wheat harvest failed to live up to last year. Turner said the state average for winter wheat yields in 2015 was 67 bushels per acre, down seven bushels from 2014.
The NASS hasn’t reported county winter wheat yields since 2007, Douridas said.