Weird weather: How farmers are handling it

Dale Seim and his son Scott on their Perry Twp. farm in Montgomery County. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
Caption
Dale Seim and his son Scott on their Perry Twp. farm in Montgomery County. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

So the weather in recent weeks has been strange. Brisk September days. Warm, humid October nights. Drought — then almost constant rain.

The temperature today is predicted to drop several degrees just this afternoon.

How are farmers handling this weird weather at harvest time?

“Harvest has slowed down significantly in the last ten days,” said Samuel Custer, extension educator for the Ohio State University Extension in Darke County. “We have had rain events every day for the last ten days. This has brought the soybean harvest to a standstill and greatly slowed down the corn harvest.”

In Darke County — a rural community of about 52,000 residents and nearly 1,700 farms, according to the U.S Census — Custer estimated that farmers are about 45 percent harvested on soybeans and 15 percent so far for corn.

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Darke County has nearly 340,000 acres devoted to farming, according to the Census. That’s more farmland than Miami County (which has more than 184,000 acres devoted to farmland), Montgomery County (over 124,000 acres), Butler (over 146,000 acres) and Warren (over 106,000 acres).

The strange weather this fall really has been nothing new — at least this year, Custer said.

“The harvest window was going to be long anyway because of the long planting season that was driven by a wet spring,” he said. “Many acres of corn and beans were being either planted or replanted in June.”

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An issue with the long harvest will be the “standability” of the crop, he added. Any corn with a weak stalk coming into the harvest because of the spring conditions is very susceptible to weather events. Evening winds have blown some corn over. Wind events in the future will have an effect on the harvestability, he said.

The bottom line? Harvest will be affected, he believes.

“For the harvest that has taken place soybean yields and corn yields across the county I predict will be slightly below average,” he said. “There will be some places that will have very good corn yields.”

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