A frustrating spring for many Indiana corn and soybean farmers who had to wait out a month of rain before they could plant has given way to a challenging summer for the crops themselves as they endure record heat and a prolonged dry spell.

How the weather could affect yields and commodity market prices will be the topic of discussion as three agricultural experts analyze a key U.S. Department of Agriculture crop production report Aug. 11 at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis.

The report will be reviewed at 9:30 a.m. in Pioneer Hi-Bred Our Land Pavilion.

Speakers are Joe Kelsay, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture; Chris Hurt, a Purdue University agricultural economist; and Greg Preston, Indiana director of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Jim Mintert, assistant director of Purdue Extension, will moderate.

The August report is the first forecast of yields and production for the year based on conditions as of Aug. 1.

Actual yields and production can be different, however, depending on conditions that develop before harvest in the fall.

In August 2010, the USDA projected a record corn crop in Indiana for the second consecutive year, with production expected to surpass 1 billion bushels for the first time.

But drought that hit late in the summer and extended into harvest lowered production to 898 million bushels, even below 2009 production of 933 million bushels. 

"A lot can, and usually does, change from month to month due to weather conditions," Preston said.

Corn and soybean supplies already are very short, and further damage to 2011 yield potential could cause even greater shortages and much higher prices, Hurt said. 

"The ultimate size of these crops will be very important to income levels of farm families and more broadly to the prices consumers will pay for food," he said.

The presentation is free with state fair admission and open to the public. Our Land Pavilion is near the fourth turn of the horse track on the west end of the fairgrounds.

Those unable to attend can follow the analysis on Twitter. Regular tweets will be posted throughout the presentation on the Purdue Extension Twitter feed (@PurdueExtension) with the hashtag of "#cropreport11." To receive the Twitter posts, visit http://www.twitter.com/PurdueExtension and request to follow the feed. Users must already