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USDA and Purdue experts discuss August Crop Report

Purdue released its annual Crop Report at the Indiana State Fair today.

Posted: Aug 12, 2019 7:32 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (WLFI)— It has been a difficult year for farmers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Purdue experts met to discuss the August Crop Report.

"Well it was surprising in serval ways,” said Agronomy Professor Bob Nielsen.

The weather has played a huge part in why this year’s planting season has been rough.

"I think everyone was hoping it would be a normal growing season,” said Climate Scientist Beth Hall. “Especially with it being a mild El Niño."

Experts said they expect yield production to be down 20%. Less than last year. Climate Scientist, Beth Hall, said farmers will need two more months of sunny weather if they want mature production.

"Nice and even is ideal,” said Hall. “Not three inches here than four weeks of dry weather. And so I'm hoping the outlooks will be more of an even distribution."

Low yields are not the only concern. Tariffs also raise issues. Agronomy Economist with Purdue University, Chris Hurt said because Trump has tried to settle trade disputes with US trade partners farmers are suffering financially.

"What we've tended to see is those countries that we put tariffs on retaliate,” said Hurt.

China is one of those countries putting expensive tariffs on things they purchase from the U.S. Hurt said this created an obstacle for farmers as China ranks number 1 for being the US' biggest agricultural customer.

"It hurts our ability to sell to our biggest customer,” said Hurt.

Hurt said Ag good sales from China three years ago were about 26 billion dollars. This year it will be 10 billion.

Local farmer Greg Gilbert said he is concerned about these tariffs.

“The price has definitely been affected,” said Gilbert. “Also you just have extra soybeans in storage."

He said even with all the obstacles he's still hopeful.

"I am hoping to hit that 165-175 bushel per acre production across the farm,” said Gilbert.

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