Area farmers wrap up disappointing corn harvest
Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 10:00 pm
Obion County farmers are about 99 percent finished harvesting what was a dismal year for corn, with this fall’s harvest devastated by the summer drought.
“It was bad, but it wasn’t as bad as we first thought,” local University of Tennessee Extension office director Tim Smith said.
Corn fields in the Harris Station, Hickman, Ky., and Kenton areas were particularly hard hit this year, according to Smith.
He said this fall’s corn harvest averaged about 100 bushels per acre, compared to about 160 bushels per acre last year.
The range for this fall’s corn harvest went from a low of seven bushels per acre to a high of more than 200 bushels per acre. Those farmers who utilized irrigation systems fared considerably better than those who relied on Mother Nature to water their crops.
The long, hot, dry summer had a major impact on this year’s crop. Consider the fact that the official rainfall reported for Union City is just under 27 inches so far this year, compared to nearly 51 inches last year.
Scorching heat and a severe lack of rain caused major problems for area farmers.
Looking ahead, farmers are also facing an uncertain future due to Congress’ adjourning without taking any action on the Federal Farm Bill.
A bushel of corn was bringing $7.17 per bushel at Union City Grain Co. on Tuesday. This time last year, a bushel of corn brought $5.77.
Now this year’s corn harvest is virtually complete, area farmers will begin planting wheat and will make plans for next year’s planting season. This year’s poor corn crop will impact the availability and prices of next year’s seeds.
All the bad news coming from the farm sector is already influencing prices at the grocery store.
“Farming impacts just about every aspect of our lives, from produce at the grocery store to what we pay for fuel, clothing and furniture,” according to Smith.
Corn is Obion County’s biggest cash crop, with about 82,000 acres of corn planted this year, according to Smith.
Farmers also planted about 92,000 in beans and about 5,000 to 6,000 in cotton and grain sorghum.
Obion County has been the state’s top corn producer for years and will likely remain No. 1 in the state despite this year’s poor harvest, according to Smith. Published in The Messenger 10.3.12