Year In Review: 2013's Bumper Crops

After huge crop losses in 2012, farmers looked toward 2013 for some hope. Those prayers were answered with a bumper crop. What made 2013 such a good year?

Compared to 2012, this year was just a tad cooler, which is a critically important difference. The summer of 2012's highest temperature reached 102 while 2013 stayed in the nineties. As for the average high temperature for the summer months of 2013, we were just 4 degrees cooler than 2012.

What really made all the difference were the number of days that reached 90 degrees or above.  Out of the whole summer season, 2012 saw 29 days of extreme heat while 2013 remained on the cooler side with just 6 days of extreme heat.

Besides more favorable temperatures, precipitation also played a role. 

The first half of the summer of 2012, Michiana was in drought. South Bend received only 3.65 inches of rain. The second half was much wetter, but the rain came too late to save the already withered crops.

Ironically, 2012 saw more rainfall in total, but the more evenly paced precipitation in 2013 gave crops the water they needed when they needed it most.

So, how did this impact crop production?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Indiana's corn fields flourished with 77-percent of the corn crop in good/excellent condition by July, while only 6-percent of the corn crop was in that condition the same time the year before. Not only did the corn crop flourish, but so did the orchard crops in the fruit belt of Michigan.

When we caught up with Bill Teichman back in August he had nothing but good things to say about the weather.

He said, "First of all it has been fabulous in the beginning because we only had one frost event, which you can tell when you look across the farm [at] the bountiful amount of fruit that is on all of the trees."

Steve Lecklider also commented on the abundance of sunshine in 2013 that greatly assisted Lehman's Orchard's peach harvest.  "The amount of sun has been adequate for a lot of the peaches we are harvesting right now," Lecklider said. "The fruit is really flavorful and it has a lot of color to it and sales have been really good."

From seeing a devastating harvest in 2012 to bumper crops in 2013, here's to watching what 2014 has in store for Michiana's crops!

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