The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Annual Report: Business & Industry

March 29, 2010

Soggy ground stalls crop

Farmers look to put 2009 behind them, hopeful for 2010

ANDERSON, Ind. — A wet spring and a wet fall complicated farming in Madison County in 2009, but farmers managed to produce respectable yields, local farmers reported.

Madison County farmer Mike Shooter said wet spring weather made it difficult for farmers to plant their crops.

“We had a long tough spring getting the crops ready on time. Corn and soy was a month behind being planted because of wet weather. It has to be dry enough to get equipment across it. If its wet, we won’t get a good crop.”

Shooter said he and other area farmers were able to get the crops planted by the last week of May, but normally prefer to get the crops in the ground by late April, early May.

Along with wet soil, farmers contended with high fertilizer and chemical costs.

Once grown, crops were harvested during another wet season, Shooter said.

This presented a challenge because crops must be dry when stored, Shooter said.

Farmers were forced to pay more to dry crops, he said.

John Orick of the Purdue Extension Office said the price of propane used to dry crops only increased the expense to the farmer.

In spite of a problematic season, Madison County farmers managed good yields, Shooter said, thanks to a cool summer.

Tomatoes growing across Madison County for Red Gold experienced similar luck, according to Steve Smith of Red Gold.

“As far as a snapshot from 2009, it turned out to be an outstanding year. The farther along we got into the year, the higher the yields were. Temperatures were very moderate with good soil moisture.”

Smith said Madison County produced a record tomato crop thanks to the damp soil.

Livestock was not so lucky.

Sarah Aubry, a cattle farmer, said livestock prices continued to decline.

Aubry, of the Indiana Farm Bureau, said livestock is not a major commodity in Madison County, often outweighed by corn and soy bean crops.

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