WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Indiana and the nation will harvest bumper crops of corn and soybeans for the second straight year, further holding down prices paid to farmers, a government forecast released Tuesday said.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported both total production and average yields per acre nationally for corn and soybeans could set records.
Indiana farmers are on track to harvest 1.04 billion bushels of corn, surpassing the record 1.03 billion grown last year, the forecast said. Nationwide, farmers are projected to produce 14 billion bushels, topping last year's record 13.9 billion.
Indiana's soybean crop could reach 279.9 million bushels, the third-largest ever for the state, after 264.7 million last year. Farmers nationwide could produce a record 3.82 billion bushels, up from last year's 3.29 billon, the forecast said.
"Overall good weather across the nation has provided just about ideal growing conditions," Purdue University Agriculture Dean Jay Akridge said.
The large harvests might help to moderate increases in food prices, but farmers are feeling the effects of futures prices for both crops that have dropped to their lowest levels since 2010 — corn below $4 per bushel and soybeans under $11, Purdue said in a news release. Prices that farmers will receive could fall so low that they would trigger payments to farmers under provisions in the new farm bill.
Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt said crop farmers' incomes could fall by as much as 30 percent.
"Prices are one of the things that isn't so positive in this report. The revenues will be down sharply this year," Hurt said.
Bob Nielsen, a Purdue Extension corn specialist, said some parts of Indiana have become dry lately and some corn crops are losing nitrogen or showing disease, but there are no widespread problems. He noted that the crop is ahead of the five-year average in development.
"It is a good-looking crop — good potential — but it needs to finish strong to realize that potential," Nielsen said.
Shaun Casteel, a Purdue Extension soybean specialist, said beans also are ahead of their five-year average in development.