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County corn crop looks good, but price is down

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Corn stalks reach over 9 feet into the Middlesex County sky near Church View. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Tom Chillemi

Rain is good for crops, but timing means everything.

The local corn crop got the rain it needed, is doing well, and is on par for high yields.

But frequent rains delayed some of the wheat harvest allowing it to sprout in the field, which means it can only be used for animal feed. So wheat will be competing with corn for animal feed.

Also, farmers couldn’t plant late soybeans until they harvested wheat. That could mean a shorter growing season for late beans.

“Double beans were planted probably later than I’ve seen in 20 years,” said David Moore, Senior Extension Agent for the counties of Middlesex, Mathews, King and Queen, and King William.

“It’s been one for the books . . . not the record book, but farmers have had to deal with some unusual weather,” he said. “Dealing with frequent rain is a problem we don’t normally have in summer.”

CornFarmer Tyler Crittenden of Hardyville said his corn never withered for lack of water this season, but it did a little due to heat stress. “I think we’re looking at a major corn crop,” said Crittenden, adding that corn prices are going down every day.

In 2012, corn prices got up above $8 a bushel for a few days, he noted. On Tuesday, corn was selling for $4.52 a bushel.

“Government reports seem to make the price go down,” Crittenden said.

The high yield comes with a catch, said Crittenden. High yield coupled to low prices means more volume, more hauling, more hours in the field, and more expenses.

Farmer Jason Bray of Remlik agreed. “This year it looks like we’ll have a good yield, but we’re getting half the price. You’ll have to work a whole lot more and it’s going to cost you more money.”

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 07.31.2013

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