Drought taking a big bite out of Indiana corn, beans

The drought had a devastating affect on corn pollination.

More evidence of how the drought is hurting crops here in Indiana: A new government report shows big losses for the state's two main crops.

Federal crop projections released Friday show Indiana's corn production is expected to drop 28 percent from last year to 605 million bushels, while Indiana's soybean crop will fall 22 percent to 185 million bushels.

Less than two and a half inches of rain has fallen at the cornfield of Indy Family Farms in Greenwood since May 1st.

"The rain has come too late for the corn. There's no chance there and that's widespread across the corn belt," said General Manager Rob Richards.

Rob and his son Aaron cleared the cornfield earlier this season after crop insurers declared no yield.

They planted soybeans, and those haven't fared any better.

"There ought to be a row of soybeans, you can see they've withered away and gone to nothing," Aaron Richards said.

Although the government's estimates show Indiana's average per-acre corn yields will fall 32 percent from last year to 100 bushels, Purdue farm economist Chris Hurt says the actual drop will be 40 percent if compared with the 20-year yield average of 165 acres.

Indiana's soybean yields are projected to fall 18 percent from last year to 37 bushels, but Hurt says the actual drop will be 23 percent compared with the 20-year yield average of 48 bushels.

The rain was too late, and once it came, the downpours were just too hard. Farm fields need a good soaking gentle rain so the ground can absorb the moisture.

Any rain that comes will help farmers prepare for next season.

"The key is that we need to replenish the subsoil," Richards said.

Indy Family Farms is lucky because they have crop insurance. Other farms may not get to plant next year.

Agricultural economists say some farms may experience such a severe loss that they may go out of business.