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Corn yield satisfactory, whatever the outcome

SIBLEY, Iowa -- Iowa's county-by-county corn yield numbers probably won't be available until March, but Al Grigg, Osceola and Lyon County Extension Director, won't be anxiously anticipating the results.

Grigg has reason to be satisfied with whatever he sees, and where his counties rank in the state isn't of particular concern. Most of the decisions for planting corn for 2006 have generally already been made, he said Monday as the Iowa Corn Promotion Board announced statewide figures.

"I would guesstimate that the average yield per acre (for Osceola County) is probably going to be in the 170s," Grigg said. "Overall, the corn crop and the soybean crops were good."

According to the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Iowa farmers grew enough corn in 2005 to supply approximately 20 percent of the total U.S. corn output. The 2.2 billion bushel yield was enough to place Iowa No. 1 in national corn production for the 12th year.

The total number of acres of corn planted in Iowa increased from 12.7 million in 2004 to 12.8 million last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Edith Munro, Information Coordinator at the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, said that although she doesn't have the final county figures, northwest Iowa may have done well enough to pull less fortunate portions of the state closer to the middle.

"Conditions were better in your corner of the state than they were in other corners of the state," said Munro, citing severe drought in the southeast. "We weren't hearing tales of gloom and doom in your area as we were in other parts."

If Grigg is correct, Osceola County's average yield for 2005 will be slightly less than the statewide average of 175 -- which in itself is more than four times Iowa's average yield per acre in 1951.

Judging from Osceola County's weather pattern last summer, said Grigg, farmers there did fairly well.

"We had some yields that were down in the low 100s, and we had some yields that were in the mid-200s, and everything in between," Grigg said. "We had one little pocket in the eastern part of the county that did not get any rain -- the rain split and went either on the north side or the south side. That also happened to be the sandiest ground."

When the county-by-county yields are released, Grigg predicts that Lyon County will come in at slightly less of an average yield than Osceola -- in part due to the sandier soils in Lyon. Even so, Lyon County had a very good year, he said.

And again, Grigg reiterated that it's not a contest. Where Osceola or Lyon ranks in relation to the other Iowa counties doesn't really matter.

"All it really means is the county, as a county average, was better than some county that ranked below it. ... The meaningful part of it is what the actual yield was," he said. "It's one of those matter-of-fact deals. Whatever it is is what it is."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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