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Drought’s impact on local crops not severe

Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 11:38 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 12:08 p.m. CDT

According to the Farm Service Agency, Jasper County has been in a drought since July 24, 2012, which led many people to believe this year’s crop harvest numbers were going to be down significantly.

Many pundits, including Jasper County’s FSA County Executive Director Katie Kramer, were pleased by the results.

“The (soy)beans turned out really well, considering the drought” Kramer said. “Corn was down a little bit, but I think everybody was pleasantly surprised. It didn’t seem to impact them as much.”

Jasper County produced 6,681 bushels of soybeans this year. In 2011, the county produced 7,045 bushels. However, in 2011, the county only planted 130,000 acres of soybeans, and in a drought-stricken 2012, 133,500 acres were planted.

In fact, Jasper County had the second-highest number of harvested soybeans acres in Iowa’s Central District. Tama County had the most with 137,300 acres harvested; other central district representatives include Polk, Marshall, Poweshiek, Story and several other surrounding counties.

“Overall, they were kind of surprised at how well they turned out,” Kramer said. “The beans didn’t seem to be affected as much as the corn. The beans got a little late moisture in August that really helped them. For the corn, by the time the late August moisture came, the damage had been done.

Local corn didn’t fare as well in the drought: Jasper County only produced 26,783 bushels of corn in 2012 — a significant reduction compared to 2011 when the county produced 30,890 bushels. Farmers did however, plant less corn in 2012 than they did in 2011.

A total of 183,500 acres were planted and 180,500 acres were harvested in 2011, while in 2012 farmers only planted 181,000 acres of corn and harvest 177,500.

“I know it’s very sporadic, the yield within each field depending on soil type,” Kramer said. “On average basis, most producers were higher than what they expected going into harvest. I think (Jasper County) did better than expected, with the drought.”

Staff Writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641)-792-3121 Ext. 426 or trushing@newtondailynews.com

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