The prospect of spring’s welcome chores may brighten a gardener’s dreary winter, but for some Ohio farmers, last year’s unharvested crops are top of mind.
Corn and soybeans are normally out of the field by late November, but late fall and early winter rains coupled with warm temperatures made fields too muddy to support harvesting equipment.
In some areas of Ohio, rainfall last year was 12-15 inches above normal. This led to both late planting and delayed harvest. USDA’s last harvest progress report of the year showed as much as 10 percent of the crops still standing. That’s roughly 850,000 acres that could still be in the field losing yield, quality and value.
“It has been a challenging harvest, to say the least,” said Ty Higgins, Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of media relations. “It isn’t typical to have harvest bleed into the next year, but it is becoming more common.”
Higgins said farmers were trying to finish up before the snow storm arrived the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. The colder weather had helped the ground to form up.
The good news was that early yield reports were very good. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, soybeans are estimated to average 60 bushels per acre, topping top last year’s average by 19 percent, and the 190 bushel-per-acre average for Ohio corn is up 11 percent from 2017’s average.
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