Corn crop estimates down
JOHNSON—A wet spring and summer reduced Gibson County’s corn crop yield estimates from last fall’s harvests.
The yearly crop survey compiled Friday by volunteers and Consolidated Grain and Barge Enterprises Inc. found the average yield for the county will be 162.3 bushels per acre, down from the 2014 harvest average of 172.9 bushels per acre.
“The crops look better than I thought they would,” Purdue Extension Gibson County Extension Director Hans Schmitz said while surveying crops in Montgomery Township Friday morning. “If you stay on the dry side of the levee, it looks decent,” he said of the Wabash Township crops.
The crops got of to a good start, but a wet summer pushed fertilizer deeper into the fields, below the roots, before the plants were mature.
“Basically we ran out of nitrogen,” Schmitz said, referencing an ear of corn that did not fully develop near the tip. “Rain washed out the nutrients and it leached out of the soil. It was so late in the season it has been difficult.”
Normally, in Mongomery and Union Townships, where Schmitz says the some of best soil in the county is, yields can average 200 bushels per acre. The survey found the yields for Montgomery to be 164.7 for Montogmery and 151.4 for Union. The highest estimate came from Johnson Township at 191.2 bushels per acre while the lowest
See Corn on 4A
came from Center Township at 137.3 bushels per acre.
Crops on a slope will likely yield more this year because nutrients were not washed deep into the soil.
Crop yields are calculated by taking 10 samples of three ears from different fields per township. A count of stalks with corn is taken in a 30-foot row, about eight rows from the edge of the field. The ears are measured for length, and kernels around the cob. The final bushels per acre calculation takes the number of ears times length, times kernels around and divided by width of the space between rows.
A majority of corn in Gibson County is eventually used for livestock feed, while most of the white corn grown is taken to Azteka Milling to make tortillas, corn chips and related food items.
“It doesn’t taste anything like sweet corn,” Schmitz said of the corn grown for livestock feed.
“You can fool some people who don’t eat a lot of corn if you boil it for long enough when it is young.”
So where does the sweet corn come from?
“It has always been a tradition around here if you have a corn field, somewhere in your plot you plant a few rows of sweet corn for you and your neighbors,” Schmitz said.
Large gardeners and small farms produce most of the sweet corn for grocery stores and farmer’s markets.
A majority of corn crops in Gibson County are genetically modified, Schmitz said.
Farmers will wait until the stalks dry out and ears fully mature before harvesting the corn.
Township 2015 yield estimates 2014 yield estimates 2013 yield estimates 2012 yield estimates 2011 yield estimates
Barton 182.5 155.8 154.4 0.0 152.1
Center 137.3 169.6 158.1 0.0 155.7
Columbia 160.9 156.8 144.1 0.0 135.5
Johnson 191.2 199.1 181.6 0.0 146.4
Montgomery 164.7 167.9 154.8 116.2 173.7
Patoka 149.4 172.4 176.6 0.0 169.2
Union 151.4 173.9 160.9 0.0 149.7
Wabash 152.5 183.4 172.1 102.6 140.2
Washington 155.4 166.7 163.5 28.1 153.
White River 171.6 173.7 169.7 60.6 119.5
TOTALS 162.3 172.9 163.2 49.5 149.6