Rain restores hope among farmers

Edwardsburg got 3 ½ inches of rain and Warsaw received 2 ½.

The downpour was apparently as widespread as it was welcome.

“Yesterday, I guess my thought was corn was going to die and there wasn’t going to be any,” said Ron Holderbaum with Wyatt Sales and Service, who farms 900 acres in his spare time. “Well there’s hope again, there’s hope.”

Farmers who were expecting nothing in terms of a corn crop, suddenly find themselves hoping to salvage something. “You know there’s fields that it’s too late for and they’re not going to make grain, and there’s fields that have some decent potential yet,” said Holderbaum. “I mean will it be anywhere near a normal yield? Absolutely not but if we can get a half a yield out of it yet, that’s at least something.”

Furthermore, the rain apparently came at a critical time for the soybean crop. “You might have your three beans in a pod and no moisture, it’s going to start aborting, you might end up with one bean in that pod,” said Tom Schlarb, a farmer in Madison Township. “If we wouldn’t have got this, the soybeans would have been very critical.”

Holderbaum agrees: “Could there be field that do 80 percent of a normal year? I’d say yes, I’d like to think that. Will there be fields with no beans? Yeah, I’m afraid there are some of those too.”

While a drought situation that just kept getting worse and worse has suddenly taken a turn for the better, no one is under any illusion that the damage already done can somehow be reversed.

“All I can say is we’re not going to have as big a corn crop you know as we are used to and it’s going to be quite diminished and so corn prices are already reflecting that, corn has set a record,” said St. Joseph County Purdue Extension Agent Phil Sutton.

“It’s going to cost me just like the rest of the consumers,” said Schlarb. “I gotta go to the grocery store like everyone else. Meat will be effected terrible, that will be one of the worst ones.”

Today the price of corn rose another 12 cents to finish at more than $8 per bushel—a record high.

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