COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The last week of October brought widespread rainfall totaling two to four inches, hampering the harvest season.

The summer and early fall featured excellent conditions for producers of corn, soybeans and grains, with the right balance of warm sunshine and adequate rainfall for the second year in a row.

Alex Lindsey, an agronomist at Ohio State University, says corn stalks adjust the angle of the leaves to capture sunlight, which helps direct food resources to the corn ear and fills out the kernels.

“The leaves at the top tend to be more vertically oriented to let more light get through the canopy. As you get farther down, the leaves get flatter and flatter,” Lindsey said. “When the kernels are drying down, producers are getting ready to harvest.”

In 2019, excessive spring and early summer rainfall resulted in a disastrous year for farmers across much of the Midwest, including northwestern Ohio. Farmers took advantage of a mild winter and planted some crops early, which were partially underwater for months, when relentless spring rains persisted well into June.

“Producers are really concerned that their fertilizers they are putting down might get lost because of that heavy precipitation,” Lindsey said, which has been problem in springs with much above-normal rainfall.

In Ohio, a record 1.6 million prevented planted acres of cropland brought historically low fall yields. Nationally, nearly 20 million acres were not planted in the heart of the country in 2019, including 11.4 million acres of corn and 4.5 million acres of soybeans.

Ohio State University researchers are developing management strategies to help farmers cope with more extreme weather such as crops with a longer period of maturity to compensate for spring planting delays and replanted crops later in the season.