Above average rainfall in June helps corn and soybean crops

FILE - This undated file photo shows an Indiana corn crop. (WLFI File Photo)
FILE - This undated file photo shows an Indiana corn crop. (WLFI File Photo)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Above average rainfall last month may be behind above average crop yields this year.

“Quite a bit above normal,” associate state climatologist Ken Scheeringa said about rainfall in Indiana. “In fact, I just looked at the entire state of Indiana and all of Indiana actually got quite a bit of rain in June.”

Many counties across the state saw an above average amount of rain this June.

“Five, six inches of rain,” Scheeringa said. “Some areas even got seven inches of rain in far northwest Indiana. That ranks for the state about the 17th wettest June on record since 1895.”

That rain is helping crops like corn and soybeans that cover about 50 percent of land in Indiana.

“Additional amounts of rainfall in the spring and particularly in June really helps build up the moisture level in the soil, the subsoil moisture, and those crops should we turn normal which is too little rain in late July and August they can actually draw on that subsoil moisture reserve,” Purdue ag economist Chris Hurt said.

Hurt said the wet spring may help create record-breaking yields.

“Over the last 30 years this year’s crop is about the fourth or fifth best,” Hurt said. “If we could finish this crop in as good of condition as it is, we’d say we’d probably be looking at record yields for corn as well as soybeans in the state of Indiana.”

While corn and soybeans are handling all of the rain this spring, wheat in Indiana is a different story.

“Winter wheat can be affected not only by the very harmful winter that we had — extreme winter that we had — but also by the very wet conditions this spring,” Hurt said. “Wet conditions are conducive to some of the diseases that get in wheat and can lower yield. It looks like our yields are about five percent lower in Indiana.”

Hurt said the crucial period for soybeans is in August while corn’s critical period is in just a few weeks.

“That’s the pollination period, so harmful weather during that time period, plus or minus a week or two can be very detrimental to yields,” Hurt said.

Looking at weather patterns, Scheeringa said we may not be done with the rain quite yet.

“Even into July, some of the early forecasts are saying more of the same,” Scheeringa said. “Warmer temperatures and wetter conditions, so I would say not a whole lot of change that we can see at least for July.”

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