Recent stormy weather in the First State did have an upside for local farmers. Tropical storms in the last month gave Delaware’s soy bean crop a boost according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But the rain was too late to help the First State’s drought-strained corn crop which the department is listing in mostly poor to fair condition.
Austin Short, Delaware’s Deputy Secretary of Agriculture says in many cases the storms’ heavy winds further diminished corn yields.
“This year has been an extremely bad year for corn, for the most part,” said Short. “Soy beans, since we’ve had these late rains – that will help the yield, bring them back to more normal yields, but all in all it’s been a very, very bad drought year, one of the worst in the last two or three decades.”
This year’s soybean harvest is projected to be about the same as last year roughly 6.6 million bushels. Meanwhile, Short estimates that Delaware corn farmers will lose an average of 25 percent on their crop yields this year.
More than half of all counties in the U.S. have been declared agricultural disaster areas due to this year’s drought, including all three in Delaware. USDA declared Delaware an agriculture disaster area last month which gives farmers greater access to low-interest loans.
Short says the low-interest loans and one other factor could keep the season from being a total loss for corn farmers.
“We are lucky in some respects – a lot of farmers their corn is irrigated so they are able to get a crop, of course with that irrigation comes expense,” said Short.