USDA reports show 77 percent of crop in good or excellent condition this summer
Aug. 2, 2013
Jessie Balmert | CentralOhio
R ain might have ruined midsummer cookouts, but the soggy weather has produced the best corn conditions in the past five years, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports.
More than three-fourths of Ohio’s corn crop was in good or excellent condition as of July 21, compared with 15 percent at the same time last year when scorching heat caused a drought that threatened local farmers’ crops, according to USDA reports.
“It’s just a prime example of how things can change pretty quickly in agriculture,” Ohio Farm Bureau spokesman Joe Cornely said.
Ohio’s corn industry supports about 34,000 jobs and generates nearly $359 million in labor income each year, according to the Ohio Corn Growers Association.
Ohio ranked eighth in the nation in producing corn for grain, about 508.7 million bushels, and sixth in sweet corn production, about 1.7 million bushels, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s 2011 profile. Still, the state’s production of field corn pales in comparison with Iowa’s — more than 3.5 billion bushels in 2011.
Corn normally would be about 12 feet tall this time of year, but many farmers have stalks shooting 13 or 14 feet into the air, said Bill Huston, Muskingum County Farm Services Agency director.
That might seem like a great coup, but Huston is worried about the integrity of the roots after all the rain earlier this summer. Right now, the corn looks great, he said, but “if we get a big wind in September ... you know, it could all fall down.”
“I think it’s too early (to tell),” he said. “The potential is there, let’s say that. But in agriculture, until it’s harvested, you can’t count it.”
Earlier this year, it looked as if wheat farmers were going to have the best crop Huston had seen in 30 years, he said, but then it rained for a month, and now nothing is left. Co