Abundant rain at the right time this fall not only gave a good harvest to area farmers but abundant grazing for every animal. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
Abundant rain at the right time this fall not only gave a good harvest to area farmers but abundant grazing for every animal. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)

VAN WERT COUNTY – With the fields nearly empty and Adams County countryside open to winter winds, Jeff Lehman, Lehman Feed Mill, said that he would have never dreamed that Harvest, 2019, would be as productive as it was.

Lehman recalled the worry and consternation on farmer’s minds in May and June when heavy rains produced soggy grounds that forced many farmers to make decisions concerning crop insurance. He noted that at one point there was speculation about how many crops, especially corn, would even get into the fields.

Lehman, whose company serves farmers in both Van Wert County and Adams County, Indiana, said that in early September, state line farmers started showing some optimism.

“They would come in here and say that if things would go just right, harvest could be better than first realized,” said Lehman.

Farmers from Willshire, Wren and the Rockford areas of Ohio became more optimistic, as did those from the Monroe and Berne areas of Indiana. Lehman noted there was an area surrounding those communities that seemed to get the right rains at the right now. North and south of that region, crops struggled a bit more, especially from northern Adams into northern Van Wert and southern Paulding counties.

Lehman had noted early in September that in order for there to be a chance of successful crops, there still had to be plenty of heat, plenty of degree days and some occasional showers. Still, no one had anticipated that much of September and a significant part of October would yield abundant sunshine and consistent highs in the 80’s.

Van Wert County Extension agent Curtis Young had said at the Van Wert County Fair that, “we need at least two more weeks of 80-degree weather.”

“It was almost perfect for what we needed,” said Lehman. “The only thing that would have made it perfect would have been extra shower around Labor Day and perhaps another extra shower in October. But the way things turned out, we sure can’t complain.”

The first significant signs of hope in the fall crops were when farmers went to the fields to harvest beans and started to bring back yields of 50-70 bushels an acre, higher than what originally had been expected. Then came the “corn surprise,” noted Lehman.

“Around here we had many fields that had corn yields of around 200 bushels per acre or more,” said Lehman. “The Berne area was especially blessed with consistently good yields. Farther north in the county, there were good yields but not quite as consistent as around here. Western Van Wert County was also reporting yields of 170 upwards to over 200 bushels an acre.

“There were a lot of fields that had yields between 175 bushels an acre and 220 bushels an acre,” continued Lehman. “I never dreamed that we would get that. Also, farmers were able to get some good plantings of whet when the beans came out.

“Many of our customers were surprised at their yields,” continued Lehman.

“At the place where we are now, we have much to thank God for with where our fall harvest is. We truly could sing, ‘thank God from whom all blessings flow,’ in our Thanksgiving services around the area," he continued. "Hopefully, farmers can take the time to regroup over the Holiday season.”