Delaware corn crop could set record

 (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

(AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

This year’s wet, hot summer could help Delaware corn farmers break the state’s record for corn production, according to the latest forecast from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This summer’s weather has been nearly perfect for Delaware farmers, with hot days and plenty of rain helping corn crops in the state grow like weeds.  The USDA expects Delaware’s corn farmers to produce an average yield of 165 bushels per acre. That’s slightly higher than the 162 bushels-per-acre record-high set in 2000.  The projected yield would be about 30 bushels per acre higher than last year’s 

“The heavy rains that we have seen over the spring and summer have been ideal for corn, especially non-irrigated fields, and our farmers managed their fields well,” said Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee.  “Some spots around the state have seen small sections of fields drowned out by the heavy rainfall, but those are relatively few.”

This forecast is not for the sweet corn you might buy at a farmer’s market, but for grain corn that is used primarily as feed for Delaware’s massive poultry industry. “Low feed costs are good for the poultry industry, so as long as price opportunities are in place for growers to lock in profits, both corn growers and poultry companies will remain profitable and healthy, as they are now,” Kee said.

A total of 174,000 acres of Delaware farmland is expected to be harvested for grain corn. The state’s total corn production is estimated at 28.7 million bushels.  

Delaware’s soybean production is also expected to be near record level, with 40 bushels per acre projected to be harvested. That’s close to the record of 43 bushels per acre, which was also set during the banner harvest of 2000. There are 158,000 acres of soybeans planted in Delaware, with a total production expected to be at 6.3 million bushels.

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