07/15/04 — Wayne farmers see bumper corn crop

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Wayne farmers see bumper corn crop

By Staff and Wire
Published in News on July 15, 2004 1:59 PM

Harold Overman of Grantham is cautiously optimistic about his corn crop.

"I hate to brag, because it's not in the bin yet," he said. "A storm could blow it down."

But Overman says this crop is probably going to be his best ever.

He and other corn growers in Wayne County expect to be harvesting in the next couple of weeks.

The rain has been a little heavy. But the crop was far enough along to not be adversely affected. Even with the high temperatures this past couple of weeks, which would normally burn a crop, there were some showers to cool it down, he said.

Wayne Cooperative Extension Director Bob Pleasants said the corn in the central part of the county hasn't dried enough to start shucking yet, but the corn in some other sections is about ready. Some corn in sandy spots has lost a some nitrogen from too much water. Some didn't pollinate at the tip of the ear.

But overall, he said, the corn looks good.

"It depends on where you are," he said. "Some needs more water. Most is maturing rapidly. What I've seen has been good. There's a lot of potential there."

Wayne County is not alone in seeing a potential bumper crop.

The U.S. Agriculture Department is predicting that farmers could produce a record corn harvest this year of 10.6 billion bushels.

The department forecast is up 210 million bushels from last month and 521 million bushels from last year. Weather has been mostly good for production of the nation's most abundant crop, the department said. The previous record, in 2003, was 10.1 billion bushels.

However, exports of the current crop are expected to drop 90 million bushels, the department said. It said Argentina has been giving the United States increased competition, and some U.S. sales had been canceled.

Prices for the crop will range from $2.30 to $2.70 a bushel, a 25-cent drop from its forecast a month ago, the department said.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)