Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
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Near-record yields of soybeans, corn in Ohio, Michigan

“This is what things are supposed to look like,” said Jim Swartz, assistant manager at Luckey Farmers Inc., based in Woodville.

“This is going to be a year we're going to benchmark and compare to for a long time.”

If the Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service's projections hold true, the state's corn and soybean crops would be the third highest yielding on record.

Michigan Agricultural Statistics Service predicts its state's corn yield will tie a record set in 1999 and soybeans will be a bushel less an acre than the records of 1995 and 1999.

Corn stalks throughout the area appear dark green from top to bottom, with few of the brown leaves that were so prevalent last year at this time when plants were struggling to survive.

Year-to-date precipitation is 1.5 inches more than normal and temperatures were ideal when plants were reproducing, giving farmers every hope that their plants will produce bigger ears full of bigger kernels.

Soybean plants are tall and bushy with plenty of space to hold lots of pods.

Like corn, few plants have the brown and yellow leaves that were signs of Ohio's disastrous crop last year.

“You can take a picture of anybody's field in the area we trade in and I don't think you could have ever had a picture any prettier,” Mr. Swartz said.

There are still risks to the crop, of course.

Many area corn and soybean plants are a week to two weeks behind normal development because of cooler than usual weather.

That isn't expected to be a problem, unless a killing frost would hit in September.

Violent winds and hail are always a fear.

Such a storm hit this week in the Bellevue area, where Seneca, Sandusky, Erie, and Huron counties meet.

This far into the growing season, plants are to big and heavy to pop back up after such damage.

Grain buyers appear much more iffy about the soybean crop than corn.

Soybeans were hit with more aphids and Japanese beetles than usual, and sudden death syndrome and white mold are feared in some areas.

“I'll be surprised if it's any better than an average bean crop,” said Alan Peters, a grain merchant at Michigan Agricultural Commodities near Blissfield.

But he raved about the potential for bumper corn crops, with yields two to three times higher than last year's drought-damaged crops.

Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service called 68 percent of Ohio's corn “good” or “excellent” this week, compared with 13 percent last year at this time.

In the final week of August last year, 58 percent of corn was ranked “poor” or “very poor”; this week 8 percent of corn fell into those categories.

The Ohio service called 63 percent of soybeans “good” or “excellent” this week, compared with 16 percent last year at this time.

A year ago the service had ranked 50 percent of beans “poor” or “very poor”; this week those figures are 10 percent.

In southern Wood County, Phil Shaffer said his 850 acres of crops appear to be the best in at least two years.

But yields in his area between Bowling Green and Findlay are pulling up the average for farms where rains were heavier or fell at more inopportune times, he warned.

Even with recent spikes, local prices for the crop in the field are still well below those last year at this time.

The Andersons Inc. this week was offering $2.15 a bushel for corn to be delivered this fall, compared with $2.63 the same day last year.

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