(WKBN) – The goal of farmers around Youngstown is to have the harvest complete by Thanksgiving. This year, when they sit down for dinner on Thursday, most of them will be done. Though the farming experts we talked with are not calling it a bumper crop, they are happy with their yields.
This week, farmer Ward Campbell harvested his corn field on his Jackson Township farm.
“Just got done with this field. It was the last field we harvested,” he said.
As the remnants of the harvest lay in the field, Campbell was pleased with the net result.
“We didn’t have a bumper crop but we had above average probably,” he said.
Campbell says this year, he averaged 180 bushels of corn an acre — short of his all-time record of 202. This year, soybeans averaged 58 bushels an acre. The most there was 64. There was a summer dry spell that prevented a bumper crop.
“There always seems to be two or three weeks that you’re short on moisture. This year, it was four or five weeks that were short on moisture, and it was right when the corn needed it, the worst,” Campbell said.
“For the most part, when we’re talking to our local farms, people are feeling pretty good about the yields they’re seeing coming in,” said Haley Shoemaker of the Mahoning County Extension Service.
Shoemaker says that despite the good yields, the high cost of fertilizer and fuel plus the elimination of COVID-19 relief money will cut into a farmer’s profits.
“Farm net cash income is projected to decrease by about 3 percent this year over 2021,” she said.
But Cambell says it won’t be that bad.
“Our bean prices and the corn and wheat prices are as good as they’ve been for a number of years, and the yields were good. So it’s going to be a real good year. But the cost of the inputs just keep skyrocketing,” he said.
The most concerning is the cost of fertilizer. Shoemaker says in some cases, it was up 44 percent.
“So what we’ve been talking about with a lot of our farms is how do we use fertilizer more efficiently? Making sure we’re soil testing so that we’re only putting on the fertilizer we truly need,” she said.
Campbell said it was so dry in October and November that the fields have few ruts and less soil compaction, which will make next year’s planting season a lot easier.