Despite the gush of rain in the early part of the season, corn made a comeback and led to surprisingly high yields in Ohio this year.
The state’s soybean farmers were not so fortunate: Yields were down an average of four bushels compared to a year ago.
Although USDA had estimated Ohio’s average corn yield would be 173 bushels per acre, many farmers harvested 200-plus bushels per acre, says Allen Geyer, a research associate with Ohio State University Extension.
“Everyone has been pleasantly surprised about yields,” Geyer says. “Price-wise, that’s a whole different story.”
On average, Ohio farmers got $3.50 per bushel for their corn and $9.39 for soybeans, both down from the 2016 averages of $3.61 per bushel for corn, $9.66 for soybeans.
Favorable weather through much of the season contributed to high yields of corn this year, according to Geyer. No days were too hot, which can slow corn’s growth.
However, the season got off to a rocky start. In mid-April, mild temperatures encouraged a lot of farmers to plant, but then heavy rain that month forced some farmers to replant, sometimes multiple times. So, some planting extended into early June, Geyer says.
The late planting along with the wet fall delayed corn harvest this year. As of the end of November, 87% of the state’s corn acres had been harvested, which is 9% less than the five-year average for what’s harvested by that date.
Of the corn grown in Ohio, the vast majority goes to feed animals, ethanol production, or is ground up for corn meal or flour.
Ohio’s soybean farmers this year were a bit frustrated with their yields. This year’s average was 51 bushels per acre, compared with 55 last year, says Laura Lindsey, a soybean specialist with OSU Extension.
Some parts of the state ended up getting really dry in August and September, which may be why yields are down, she says. Across the state, the wet spring led to smaller, yellower soybeans.
“It’s good to have rain, but it was high-intensity rain, so we had a lot of standing water and saturated soils,” Lindsey says.
Drenched soils hinder the growth of soybeans. “There were a lot of stunted and yellow beans across the state in June,” she adds.
Despite the improved weather in July and August, soybean yields were still affected.