One farmer in south-central Indiana would have sold you his field of soybeans on land underlain with gravel for 25 bushels an acre before he pulled the combine in, and went home happy, thinking he had made a good deal. As it turned out, the field made nearly 40 bushels per acre, and another field on similar ground yielded even better.
"I'm not sure where they came from," the farmer says. "They just died because they were longer maturity, but were ready to harvest before some other fields on better ground without gravel of shorter maturity. They still had leaves hanging on them. But when we combined them, the beans rolled out."
The farmer has experienced much worse yields in very dry years before. What's he's wondering now is what they might have made if they had received any rain of any significance in August. They didn't, and neither did soybeans in many other areas. It was the third driest August on record in Indiana. Yet August is important to soybeans because it's when their reproduction cycle and pod fill reaches full bore.
Other people are reporting yields in the high 50's on ground that should have made 65 with some rain, but which they thought might make much less since it didn't rain. Some yields in the 60-plus bushel per acre range in dry areas have been reported.
Irrigated yields aren't in yet, but one farmer reports the beans in his irrigated field inside the pod are huge compared to beans in fields that weren't irrigated.
One thing the dry weather did was close the season sooner than expected. As late as the first of August, Purdue University Extension soybean specialist Shaun Casteel was wondering if all soybeans would finish in time. Now many of those fields have already been combined and the crop hauled to the elevator or stored in the bin.