By David Knopf/Richmond News
Timing is everything in how and when crops mature. There’s no schedule for rainfall, and there’s no guarantee that it’ll come when plants need it most.
With that in mind, there is consensus that the 10 to 14 inches of rain delivered by Hurricane Isaac came in the nick of time for some of this year’s soybeans.
Jarrell Foreman, county executive director of the Farm Services Administration in Ray County, said that while the bean harvest is just getting under way it’s likely the rain helped beans planted later in the growing season.
“If you’ve got some late-planted beans, that’s probably going to help them quite a bit,” Foreman said. “The ones that have already dropped leaves and all, it might not help them at all.”
Buddy Raasch, who grows row crops in Ray, Clay and several other counties, said his bean fields definitely benefited from the cooler weather the hurricane ushered in. Most of his soybeans were planted early, he said, but some lay dormant until what rain did come helped them break ground.
“Most beans this year went in early,” he said. “A lot of them laid in the ground for a month until the rain brought them up. That means they’re going to have two different maturities, which in the long run is going to help.”
The majority of Raasch and his sons’ soybeans are in Ray and Carroll counties, and none are irrigated. Seed hybrids have been a factor in how well they survived the drought, he said, as have varieties with different maturity schedules.
“They can vary quite a bit,” said Raasch. Beans that matured later and remained green until moisture arrived with Isaac are more likely to produce better yields than those that yellowed, dropped leaves and had already reached maturity.
The Raasches farm mostly bottom land, which generally retains water and functions better than hilly ground in dry weather. Even so, he said the 2012 corn schedule was unlike any he’s seen.
“The corn harvest was very early,” he said. “I started shelling corn on the 15th of August and I’ve never started that early.”