Farmers plead for rain as local corn crops grow rapidly, produce lower yields

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QUAD CITIES (KWQC) - Farmers across the QCA are pleading for rain as corn crops grow rapidly.

"The corn development has developed fast this year," John Maxwell, owner of Cinnamon Ridge Farms, said.

Maxwell says that this year's corn crop is about two weeks ahead of schedule and it's because of the intense heat and lack of rain.

"We got our corn in normal time and we have had a lot of heat," Maxwell said. "If you remember Memorial Day was 100-plus degrees. We have a lot of hot days so therefore the corn is developing faster."

All the heat and lack of rain means smaller kernels, according to Maxwell. The smaller kernels mean a lower yield. A farmer's yield is based on weight.

"These kernels, these little bitty kernels right here will turn into a bigger kernel but the depth won't be as much," Maxwell said. "If this continues we will have less yield. We are paid on weight. The smaller the kernel, the smaller the weight so we're in for less yield."

With smaller kernels, Maxwell says yields won't weight as much which could result in fewer dollars going to farmers and that trickles down to local economies.

"Lower yields result in lower prices or lower dollars in our pockets," Maxwell said. "More than that, when farm income is down, so is the surrounding community. People who work at John Deere, and all these other places, people aren't going to be buying, so it means lower prices down the road."

Maxwell says that the solution to the current yield problem is rain. He'd like about an inch a week through September.

"We're dependent on mother nature," Maxwell said. "We gamble every day."

The latest crop report for Iowa says 55% of the corn crop is in good condition while 23% is considered excellent.

Maxwell says the current problems are not impacting sweet corn.