Wind and rain bad news for area farmers

Corn is laying flat, soybean plants are yellowing and wheat is beginning to drop its grain onto the ground.

The news is not good for farmers this summer, and Wednesday’s storm made matters worse.

“What started out really, really nice got really, really wet and now it’s kind of a wait-and-see game,” said Mark Koenig, Ohio State University Extension educator in Seneca and Sandusky counties.

“In this storm, trees took a real beating and the corn that was just getting ready to tassel took a real beating too,” he said.

However, he said farmers shouldn’t lose hope because the bent-over corn could right itself if the stalks didn’t break.

“It wasn’t the ideal stage for it to do that, but there are stages it could have been a lot worse,” he said. “We have to wait for a week or so to find out.”

If corn was in the tassel stage, damage probably will be more severe.

Koenig, who is based in Fremont, said he surveyed damage in Sandusky County Thursday morning.

“I didn’t get to Seneca County, but it seemed to be pretty widespread,” he said.

“A lot of producers are noticing it really didn’t do the wheat any good either,” he said.

“The wheat is still standing pretty good, but grain is dropping out of the heads already and there’s other issues going on.”

Other problems include fungal growth from the moisture-laden heads.

“The idea that it was probably ready to (harvest) maybe a week ago, right around the Fourth of July, but all we had is rain so guys haven’t been able to get into the field to get it,” he said.

How soon farmers can get back into the fields depends mainly on soil type, he said. Water could drain from sandy soils in a few days, but it could be a lot longer for heavier clay soils.

Soybeans have been suffering from too much water for quite a while now, he said. Plants are looking yellow instead of green in some areas.

“The one thing we’re noticing about all this is that soybeans have been taking a hit just because of all the rain,” he said. “It didn’t help them at all getting more rain.”

He said yields probably will be impacted.

“I think some of them are hurt pretty bad,” he said. “They’re still going to yield, and there’s still a chance they can come back and yield well.”

Koenig said a sudden heat wave would be bad for soybeans right now because they cook right on the plant with all that water.

“Plants are just like humans in that they have to breathe,” he said. “How long can a plant hold its breath?”