The Nebraska Corn Board says the state's harvest is nearly a month ahead of schedule.
Executive Director Don Hutchens says the condition of the crop varies widely based on where it was grown. In areas where farmers irrigate their land, Hutchens says there could be a record harvest. “That helps stabilize our livestock and our ethanol production as well, because we rank number two in ethanol production and we’re the number one red meat-producing state in the nation, and we literally feed those two industries with corn and soybeans.”
About 65 percent of Nebraska’s corn is grown on irrigated land. Hutchens says corn grown in dry-land areas fared much differently, with zero to half of the normal harvest.
Hutchens says Congress needs to pass a new farm bill to help producers recover from this year’s drought. The bill is still awaiting a vote in the U.S. House.
In August, the USDA cut the projected harvest by 17 percent due to exceptional drought conditions. But the agency expects this year’s corn crop will be the eighth largest on record.