Purdue: Crop report dismal, but not unexpected
"This is the worst departure from trend yields in Indiana in at least 75 years," said Bob Nielsen, Purdue Extension corn specialist.
That includes the 1988 corn crop, which was down 30 percent from the previous year. Soybeans were down 20 percent.
This surreal-looking soybean field is a victim of the 2012 drought. This year, Indiana's soybean crop still has potential to recover some yield after widespread rains offered much-needed relief early this month, according to Purdue Extension soybean specialist Shaun Casteel.
"Beans are flexible, and there is a fair amount of growing season left," he said. "We've had some rainfall and more mild temperatures in early August, and if those continue, we can still make up ground."
Corn, on the other hand, isn't likely to improve much between now and what is all but certain to be an early harvest.
"We need to be prepared for an early harvest because not only was the crop planted early, but it also will mature even faster because of drought stress," Nielsen said.
Even with short corn and soybean crops, Hurt said growers could still find themselves in a profitable situation, depending on final yields and crop insurance coverage.
"We assume producers need bushels to have an income," he said. "Corn revenues are up 64 percent from what we expected in the spring and soybean revenues are up 24 percent. Some growers might have an opportunity to take advantage of the higher prices.
"Crop insurance will be another factor. We estimate that 65-75 percent of Indiana's corn and soybean acres are insured. Those compensation dollars will be very large this year."
Also key in final incomes will be growers' marketing and forward-contracting strategies and whether farms also include livestock, Hurt said.