Government Shutdown Agriculture

FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2018, file photo, Mike Starkey offloads soybeans from his combine as he harvests his crops in Brownsburg, Ind. Farmers already reeling from low prices and uncertainty amid the nation's trade dispute with China are welcoming a decision to delay a deadline for federal aid because of the partial government shutdown. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, announced the Agriculture Department would extend a Jan. 15 deadline for farmers to apply for payments to offset losses they incurred due to the trade dispute. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Production of corn and soybeans is projected to fall from last year while maturation lags behind and will likely lead to a late harvest in Ohio.

According to a crop production report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Monday, corn production is forecast at 13.9 billion bushels, down 4 percent from last year. The USDA estimates an average of 169.5 bushels per acre, a decrease of 6.9 bushels from last year.

Soybeans are seeing a bigger drop, as the projected 3.68 billion bushels expected this year represent a 19 percent drop from last year.

This data was released as another report, from the Farm Service Agency, estimated 19 million acres weren’t planted in the country this year due to adverse weather conditions.

In Ohio, the USDA has estimated that 2.8 million acres of corn were planted this year, down from 3.5 million acres planted in 2018.

Soybeans also saw a decrease in planted acres in Ohio, with the USDA estimating 4.2 million acres planted this year compared to 5 million acres last year.

What corn was planted is progressing slower than usual, as well, according to data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

In Ohio, only 71 percent of corn was silking as of Sunday, lagging behind the five-year average of 94 percent. Meanwhile, only 25 percent was in the dough stage, when the five-year average is 51 percent.

Soybeans weren’t faring any better as 69 percent were blooming, compared to 92 percent in the five-year average. Only 35 percent of the plants were setting pods when the five-year average is 72 percent.

Stephanie Karhoff, agriculture and natural resources educator for the Williams County Ohio State University Extension Office, said this combined with the late planting would likely lead to a late harvest.

“The really difficult one will most likely be for corn, being able to dry it down and get it to an adequate moisture (for harvest),” she said. “Something to keep in mind is ‘Do I have facilities to dry this down on farm? If so, how much propane am I going to need?’”

The weather could play a factor, as well.

“At least for corn, we usually use growing degree days to measure or forecast when it’ll reach the next stage of development,” Karhoff said. “So, a corn plant can compensate and require less GDDs to hit that mark with delayed planting. But overall, we expect a delayed harvest for those fields that have delayed planting.”

The next concern, Karhoff said, is when the first frost will hit and how that could affect the harvest.

A dip in quality is also a possible concern.

“It’s tough to say at this point, but there could be an issue with quality,” Karhoff said. “We don’t know, yet, what our weather is going to be like when harvesting. Are we going to have a wet harvest, as well? That’s going to make it difficult to get in the field and get things dried down. Just like we worry during planting season if weather will give us a nice window, the same applies to harvest season, as well.”

According to the NASS, corn is 43 percent fair and 34 percent good to excellent. Soybeans are 49 percent fair and 29 percent good to excellent.

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