Soybean crop may take a hit due to dry August

By Beau Ebenezer

September 4, 2013 Updated Sep 5, 2013 at 9:49 AM CDT

NORMAL, Ill. -- Last year at this time, farmers were left helpless as they struggled to harvest as much as they could from the drought.

This year, Normal farmer Dan Kelley expects to lose 10 to 20 percent of his corn yield due to the drought in August, but he is trying to look on the positive side.

"The better soil types do have better water holding capacity, so there will be some good yields in spots," Kelley said. "We'll have better yields, especially, in spots where we received a 1/2 inch or 1 1/2 inches of rain in some very isolated areas."

Illinois Farm Bureau officials said corn yields in Illinois are actually expected to be the best they have seen in three years with an average of 180 bushels per acre.

However, because of a dry August, soybeans may take a hit.

"August really decides the potential for soybean crops," said Illinois Farm Bureau Spokesperson John Hawkins. "We have had probably the third or second driest August on record through much of Illinois."

Without any rain in the forecast for the next few weeks, farmers' soybean crops are in danger of only producing half of the potential yield.

Kelley said that just a little bit of rain now could go a long way for his crops.

"It would help both crops. It would help the soybeans a lot. It would be nice to get one to two inches of rain to boost their maturity," he said.

As Kelley waits for some much needed rain, his focus right now is preparing to harvest his corn crop.

He hopes to begin harvesting mid-September.

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