Corn harder to come by: Harvest season yields less for Middle Tennessee farmers after summer drought

Harvest season yields less corn for middle Tennessee farmers
Posted at 10:18 PM, Sep 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-20 09:07:39-04

ORLINDA, Tenn. (WTVF) — At Jepson Farms, corn harvest is in full swing, but dry conditions months ago are yielding problems today.

"From mid-April through mid-July we had less than two inches of rain, which in that same period in a normal year we would have had 10 or 12 inches of rain," said farmer Willis Jepson.

The summer drought has left this year's harvest with a lot to be desired.

"Well, we’re harvesting about anywhere from a third to half of a crop this year compared to what we would normally harvest," Jepson said.

Much of his corn is now only a fraction of the size it should be.

"We sell corn to livestock seed producers, pet food producers, there’s an ethanol plant about an hour and 15 minutes from here in Hopkinsville Kentucky to make fuel," said Jepson.

The poor yield couldn't come at a worse time. Inflation and supply chain issues have made this crop the most expensive Jepson has ever planted.

"We spend time and effort and money, and we don’t know how much crop we’re going to have and if or how much profit there will be, but there’s always next year, and that’s the mindset of a farmer," he said.

Despite so much uncertainty, Jepson plans ahead because he knows so many are depending on it.

"Well it's pretty stressful, but it's a good life," he said. "I wouldn't have it any other way."