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Reflecting on the harvest

With harvest continuing throughout the local area, I feel the timing is right to reflect on a great harvest so far.

Local farmers are having a record breaking year for both corn and soybeans. The stories told throughout the countryside are that farmers are very happy with the results to this point. The average yield for corn so far has been around 200 bushels per acre. However, there have been cases of corn achieving higher yields than that. For example, I weighed my first 300 bushels per acre corn for one of my customers this year.

Soybeans have also done well, even without getting the late July and August rains to help boost yield potential. For instance, we weighed one of our grower’s soybeans, and they yielded 82 bushels per acre — but the average has been around 60 bushels per acre. It was difficult to predict this good of a season, with these good yield results, during the wet start of the planting season or in drought conditions of July and August. Overall, many farmers are not too disappointed with the yield results.

The USDA is reporting that 74 percent of corn and 85 percent of soybeans are harvested in the state of Illinois as of Oct. 27. Last year at this time, 94 percent of corn and 86 percent of soybeans were harvested. This just means there is still some harvesting to be completed before Plant 2014 begins.

With the remaining unharvested acres, I would recommend farmers keep an eye on their trouble areas. If a field or part of a field has had some rootworm pressure, make those fields a priority to harvest once the ground is dry. As of Wednesday evening, I have received 2.21 inches of rain in the last 24 hours. With that amount of rain combined with below average roots, I am concerned with the standablility of the corn crop.

On the bright side, the rain storms are just that, rain storms. Not the “s word” falling from the sky yet. This is helping to give us the needed moisture back into the subsoil which we have used the past two growing seasons. I know on our own family farm when it rained, we were happy to take a breather to catch up on things that needed our attention. This allows our dryer to catch up and move some grain storage around. The time was also used to make any needed repairs or modify any equipment. Not to mention these rain storms allowed us and our neighbors to have a much needed and deserved break.

Luckily, the number of farm-related accidents have been minimal this harvest, but even one accident is one too many. I encourage everyone to stay vigilant about staying safe and to continue to have a prosperous harvest!

Matt Denton resides in Princeton and is an associate representative with White Oak Ag Inc.

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