Farmers in drought-stressed areas are seeing drastic cuts in yield as they harvest corn early this year.
Equipment on Mark Noethlich’s farm outside Doland entered fields for harvest early this year and is leaving the fields with little.
"Rain never came,” Noethlich said. “June, July, August we caught a little bit. I think it totaled an inch and that's been it."
Needless to say, that wasn't enough. We spoke with Noethlich in March. At that time he was optimistic about the growing season because he was planting wheat weeks ahead of schedule.
He got his corn in early too. But now that harvest has started, he isn't even getting half of the yield from his corn he normally would. In fact, he isn’t even getting close to half.
"Thirty bushel maybe is what it's making," Noethlich said.
That's 30 bushels an acre when Noethlich is used to at least 130, if not more.
Noethlich's fields are scattered in an area spanning about 20 miles north to south. Those to the north received a little more rain, but he doesn't expect strong yields there either.
"Hardly any moisture at all I guess," Noethlich said. "One thing we don't get to control, so hopefully it's a better year next year."
Some crops faired better than corn this year but they don’t bring in as much money as corn could.
Corn was in such tough shape this year, several farmers chopped it for silage to feed livestock rather than harvest it. Noethlich said he chopped six times more corn than he normally would.