Md. Farmers Enjoying "Outstanding" Summer - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Md. Farmers Enjoying "Outstanding" Summer

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CAMBRIDGE, Md.-  It was an ominous start to the season.  No rain had farmers concerned, and even praying that the hurricane that swung by us in early July would hit Delmarva just for a few precious inches of rain.  But now, farmers are up to their eyeballs, in many cases literally, in corn and soybeans.

It is good news for Wendell Meekins of Handley Farms in Dorchester County.  He said every ear of corn he peels open to inspect is symetrical and beautiful. While he said you can still see the effects of the early drought, he said the crop has recovered nicely.

"Early on, this is an ear of non irrigated corn," Meekins showed WBOC. "As you can see the end on it is not filled all the way, and it's got 16 rows. And this is an irrigated ear of corn and it's pretty much filled to the top. But this is a good dry land ear of corn."

And it is not just corn that is doing well. Soybeans are also growing quickly. 

Greg Gannon, a farmer at C.H. Gannon and Sons Inc. in Talbot County, said that with soybeans, height is not the big determining factor, though.  It is how many beans are in a pod. The reason he believes this year has been so good is a perfect combination of weather.

"Often you think about how much rain does or doesn't fall, which is important," Gannon noted. "But when you have a summer like this when you register maybe half of the days at 90 or above that you usually do, it's a big deal to the crops."

A big deal because it saves them from the excess heat stress, and allows those extra beans to grow in the pod.

But how does this all affect the consumer?

"It will benefit your livestock grower because he can buy cheaper feed, chicken feed will be cheaper because corn is down, and the consumer will see that in the supermarket," said Meekins.

Prices on corn and soybeans are down per bushel this year, but both Meekins and Gannon said the excess yield they are getting this year should help cover the loss of profits there.

For corn, the average price last year per bushel was around seven dollars. Today, it is hovering just below four dollars per bushel.

As for soybeans, the price last year per bushel was at almost sixteen dollars this time last year.  Today, it is hovering at just over twelve dollars per bushel.

Those prices are based off of crop yields in the Midwest, where most farming is done.

This year is also expected to break records at corn harvest, which is expected to total above 14 billion bushels.

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