Corn crops in Northwest Ohio were highly affected by this year’s drought.
During this past growing season, Northwest Ohio counties have endured some extreme weather, leading to lower crop yields of apples and corn. The late spring frost in April, which killed or stunted the flower buds on apple trees during their peak bloom, and the drought conditions led to decreased crop output and smaller fruit.
Corn crops were highly affected by the drought throughout the summer months. The early fall freeze has stagnated soybean production. Abundant localized rain has postponed taking off soybeans and in turn, the planting of winter wheat.
In Van Wert County, apple, corn, soybean and wheat crops have all been adversely affected by the weather.
“Some fruit tree growers anticipated the extreme weather and used thinning practices to aid in the production of higher quality apples,” Van Wert County Extension Educator Curtis Young explained. “Corn production was dependent on soil moisture content, therefore, very dry soils yielded 20 bushels or less and moisture-rich soils yielded 100-120 bushels. In addition, soybeans survived the drought well and produced excellent crops. The second planting of soybeans, prior to the earlier freeze, were very green but have since stopped progression. Those crops have yielded respectable pods and good bean production.”
Winter wheat planting is delayed due to later soybean takeoffs and the weather.
Likewise, in Putnam County, the double crop of soybeans were nipped by the early freeze and their growth has slowed. Corn crops also varied with high to low yields.
“Depending on moisture content and soil composition, various locations within the county and within each field produced differing quantities of corn,” Putnam County Extension Educator Jim Hoorman reported. “The late spring frost and drought were big factors in the counties’ lower apple yields, which is a decrease of 30-40 percent from the average harvest.”
Autumn agritourism has not been affected by the extreme weather. The Apple Festival at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds is proceeding as usual and runs 11a.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 19 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 20.
In addition, there are a number of corn mazes located in Van Wert and Putnam County offering fun activities for the whole family. Kernel Cooper’s Corn Maze at 9867 Mendon Road in Van Wert County presents a Titanic theme and runs through Nov. 3. For more information, visit kernelcoopers.com. In Putnam County, Suter’s Corn Maze, located at 12200 Pandora Road, is open 1-7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays until the first weekend in November. It’s also open Monday through Friday for school groups.
For more information, visit suterproduce.com.