Yields look good for area farmers’ crops in Mecosta, Osceola counties

GROWING STRONG: A field of corn lines a Mecosta County road. Overall, the corn crop looks to be doing well, said Jerry Lindquist, Michigan State University Extension Agricultural Educator. “There’s no record breaking numbers, but it’s good corn and the extra heat helped it when combined with the rain. As long as it doesn’t get dry again, we should have good yields.” (Pioneer photos/Emily Grove-Davis)

GROWING STRONG: A field of corn lines a Mecosta County road. Overall, the corn crop looks to be doing well, said Jerry Lindquist, Michigan State University Extension Agricultural Educator. “There’s no record breaking numbers, but it’s good corn and the extra heat helped it when combined with the rain. As long as it doesn’t get dry again, we should have good yields.” (Pioneer photos/Emily Grove-Davis)

MECOSTA COUNTY — A crop crisis was averted thanks to recent rains which broke up a dry spell threatening the work of area farmers in Mecosta and Osceola counties.

Jerry Lindquist, Michigan State University Extension Agricultural Educator, said the last week or so provided some “saving rains.”

“We were getting to a critical stage because things were too dry, but the substantial rain made a big difference,” Lindquist said. “Some yield for corn and soybean was lost because of the dry weather, but the rain made it so it wasn’t a significant disaster.”

For Mecosta and Osceola counties, corn, soybean, alfalfa hay, potatoes and wheat are the main crops, Lindquist said.

Overall, the corn crop looks to be doing well, according to Lindquist.

“There’s no record-breaking numbers, but it’s good corn and the extra heat helped it when combined with the rain. As long as it doesn’t get dry again, we should have good yields.”

Lindquist believes it also could be a very good year for the soybean crop.

“Soybeans were maturing later than corn, so they weren’t really hurt by the dry weather,” he explained. “It could turn out to be a great year for them.”

As far as hay, farmers experienced a good first cutting, though there was some loss in the second and third cuttings because of the heat, Lindquist added.

CORN CROP: While the amount of corn being produced in the area is up, corn prices are down this year.

CORN CROP: While the amount of corn being produced in the area is up, corn prices are down this year.

“The hay yield will be down,” he said. “We may get another cutting in. Luckily, we had a big first cutting or it could have been worse than what it is.”

Because potatoes are grown with the assistance of irrigation, the crop was not disturbed by the lack of rain, Lindquist noted.

Potato farmers should not see much of a harvest loss and should also have a good crop, he added.

The success of the wheat crop varied across the area depending on rainfall received in late June and early July, Lindquist said.

Many farms caught enough early rain and were able to produce good yields. Farms utilizing irrigation for the crop even wound up breaking records, he added.

“Some farms pushed more than 130 bushels per acres under irrigation and I’ve never witnessed a yield like that,” Lindquist said. “The technology to produce wheat continues to improve.”

While the yields are good for most crops in the area, the bad news is most of the market prices are low because of world supply.

“Profitability is difficult, even with good yields, because of the lowering corn prices,” Lindquist said. “They’ve fallen by at least 40 percent of what it was two years ago. It’s very low or no profitability in corn fields this year.”

Soybean prices also are down, but not quite as drastically as corn. The yield will help, but those prices also aren’t what they were two years ago, he said. There also will be a lower profitability for hay crops this year compared to previous years.

While recent weather has helped, farmers are still hoping for cooperation from Mother Nature to get them through the rest of summer and into early fall. Potatoes are harvested in September, and soybeans and corn are harvested in early October, Lindquist said.

“We need rainfall and we need the first frost to hopefully not be an early one,” he said. “If that holds off, we should have some great crops.”

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Posted by Emily Grove

Emily is the Pioneer and Herald Review crime and court reporter, covering crime in both Mecosta and Osceola counties. She can be reached by e-mail at emily@pioneergroup.com or by phone at (231) 592-8362.

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