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Weekend Rains a Welcome Sight

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The leaves of some plants in this cornfield in southern Tippecanoe County have wilted and turned brown. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)
The Labor Day weekend brought some needed rain to northwest and central Indiana farm fields. Purdue Corn Specialist Bob Nielsen says the state's corn yields could fall somewhat after the month-long dry spell, but he added it's nowhere near as bad as last year. The 2012 drought that shriveled farmers' crops and led to fire and watering bans across Indiana ended over the winter, and any remaining abnormally dry conditions were erased by frequent rain in the spring.
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The yellowish section of a soybean field shows that plants on a hillside are "burning up" from lack of water. This is among the worst-looking soybean fields that Purdue Extension soybean specialist Shaun Casteel has seen so far this year. (Purdue Department of Agronomy photo/Shaun Casteel)
The state's soybeans also are at a critical time, said soybean specialist Shaun Casteel. "We need rain to retain pods and to finish seed fill," Casteel said. "The hilltops of some fields are burning up, and those plants will not recover. But there isn't that much severe stress in most of the state. "Even if soybeans lost pods due to this water stress, rain within the week would help yield recovery via seed size. It might prevent further deterioration. "
Some of the stress in soybeans is from conditions at planting time, Casteel said. Some fields delayed in planting have poor root systems from too much rainfall in June. Nielsen says in July, US Department of Agriculture projections pointed to exceptional yields for corn. Yields could fall somewhat, now, after a month-long dry spell.The most-recent U.S. Drought Monitor said much of northwest Indiana – Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper Counties – and Central Indiana were abnormally dry.
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