Survey projects good yields

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

The Fayette County Farm Bureau’s marketing committee held its annual crop survey earlier than usual, and the number of people conducting that survey was about half of what it was last year.
The biggest reason for that drop in survey participants was that many who usually help estimate corn and soybean yields were in their fields harvesting their corn crop.
Picking a date for this year’s survey was a challenge, both because this year’s corn crop developed quicker than usual and the planting of many soybean fields was later than usual, with weather being a big factor in both cases.
“It was real tough to pick a date, because our corn and soybeans are so spread apart,” said David Schaal, chairman of the marketing committee.
Most of the corn planting was completed by May, and weather conditions were favorable for corn growth after that, according to Ron Marshel, Fayette County Farm Bureau manager.
Soybean planting, however, was a different story. “Some were planted in April, and some were planted in August,” Marshel said, noting that wet weather in and after May both delayed some planting and caused some replanting.
Despite the irregularities in this year’s growing seasons for corn and soybeans, Fayette County farmers can expect some good numbers. In fact, the projections from this year’s survey, which was conducted on Tuesday, show yields for both crops being a little higher than in 2009.
Fifteen surveyors looked at more than 40 corn and soybean fields in all areas of the county, and they came up with yield estimates of 158.70 bushels per acre for corn and 41.48 bushels per acre for soybeans.
The 2009 yield estimates were 149.97 for corn and 33.54 for soybeans.
Samples ranged from 94-200 bushels per acre for corn and 31-65 bushels per acre for soybeans.
Schaal said that in many cases, the soybean crop could improve with some rain within the next week or so. “Those 35-bushel fields could go to 40 bushels, and the 45-bushel fields could get into the 50s,” he said.
Marshel said, “There are some soybeans that are great. By the same token, some have got a long way to go.”
While many soybean fields were planted late, Marshel said, hot weather spurred soybean growth. “But, on the other hand, the heat also did some damage,” he said. “It aborted some pods.”
Corn harvest is under way, with Marshel and Schaal estimating that less than 5 percent of the county’s corn crop has already been picked.
Soybean harvest, Marshel said, would extend into October.
Lyle Barnes farms between Herrick and Cowden in the northeast corner of the county, which traditionally has had good yields. He expects the same this year.
“We’ve got some pretty decent crops,” Barnes said. “We’ve got sandier soil, but it’s good, black soil, and we always get our crops in early…always.”
But, Barnes said, one can’t tell just how good crops are by driving along next to them.
“They may look good around the edges, but there are some blank spots out in the fields,” he said. “Just about everybody is going to have some of those.”