Approximately 65% of our farm income is derived from the sales of grain commodities – this amounted to over $37 million in 2001. Acreage wise, soybean tops the list as our largest crop, with about 100,000 acres planted annually. Corn is planted on about 80,000 acres, and wheat is grown on 6,000 acres. On the production side, corn makes up the most bushels and accounts for highest value. In 2001, we produced 11.3 million bushels of corn and 4.3 million bushels of soybeans. This county also has well over 2000 acres of popcorn, most grown on contract with Weaver Popcorn in Van Buren, Indiana. There are also a few hundred acres of processing tomatoes grown here, sold to Red Gold in Geneva.
Wells County has fertile soils, and has been well represented on the “Top 10” list for crop production in the last five years. In 1998, we ranked 5th in Indiana for wheat yield (68 bu./ac.) and 9th in total bushels produced (682,300.) We also tied with Noble County that same year with the state’s highest corn yield (152 bu./ac.) In 2001, we produced 5.2 million bushels of soybeans, which was 9th in the state. Our 10-year (1992-2001) average production levels are: corn = 138 bu./ac., soybeans = 43 bu./ac., and wheat = 63 bu./ac. (click on the link at left to find more historical yield information.)
Our soils are divided into three main types: Pewamo, Blount-Del Rey and Del-Rey-Blount. These are classified as “Prime Farmland” soils if they are properly drained, which is standard practice (almost a necessity?) here in Wells County. No-till planting is the norm for soybeans here (only 20% of soybean acreage is tilled), but only about 15% of our corn acreage are under no-till practices.
Here are a few other tidbits of information for Wells County:
The average annual rainfall is about 37 inches,
the average date for our last spring frost (32 degree F) is May 6-10,
and the average date for our first fall frost (32 degree F) is October 6-10.
For wheat, the “Hessian fly-free date” for planting is September 26.