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Harvest progress speeds ahead
Terry Stoops of Cooksville, Illinois, is finishing up his harvest of 560 corn acres. He's seeing corn yields running between 120 and 160 bu./acre, below his average of 165 bu./acre. For soybeans, Stoops is hoping to average 45 bushels/acre. That would be an average crop. "We have a lot of money invested in producing a crop, when you consider what rents cost and what land costs."
The harvest window opened wide for farmers in Illinois this week. This field, owned by Shafer Farms near Wyoming had received a rain earlier in the week, helping the husks pull easily away from the ears. The combine's yield monitor was reading a consistent 200-bushel average, and at times, much higher.
Though delayed by a week to 10 days, the Shafer Farm is enjoying harvesting corn recording 55- to 60-pound test weight, along with 21% moisture.
The corn kernel length is helping the test weight in this west-central Illinois field, according to Shafer Farms co-owner Tim Shane. "The nitrogen that was side-dressed helped us put on another 10 to 15 bushels per acre," Shane says. "The test weights are making a big difference this year."
Agriculture.com's Mike McGinnis inspects the Shafer Farm's corn with agronomist Dave Mowers. "This year's growing weather was not ideal. But, due to the excellent soil, seed, and top management, the results are better than expected," says Mowers.
Dean Blunier, a Eureka, Illinois, farmer, harvests corn this week averaging 215 bu/acre, below recent year averages of 260. With relatively low production costs, Blunier will still be slightly profitable with even $4.00-per-bushel corn prices. "At $3.50, I would just be paying expenses. I'll wait for the prices to reach $5 to sell."
Randy Schertz, who farms outside of Eureka, Illinois, is seen here harvesting part of his 800 acres of corn. Schertz has planted corn-on-corn for a number of years. This year's corn yields are coming in between 165 and 180 bushels per acre. The result is not the best, since it always has 210 bushels per acre. "But, this year's crop is above the mark of 140 recorded last year."
"The yields are looking better than expected given the tough growing conditions we were faced with. Given the lower corn prices, producers would be more inclined to store instead of sell this fall," says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.
This cornfield in central Iowa had an average yield of 180 bu/acre, and moisture was at 24%.
Bill Rhea, a producer from Blair, Nebraska, says cool weather helped counteract the lack of rain, ultimately leading to higher-than-expected yields.
Neighbors from Atlantic, Iowa, Brooke Tanner, Jim Pellett, and Garry Pellett, take a break from harvesting to discuss yields. Ideal pollinating conditions led to better-than-expected yields.
Bob Deo harvests a soybean field near Maxwell, Iowa. Considering the challenging weather conditions from this growing season, Deo says his yields are better than expected.
Shown here is a combine on fire. Don't let this be you!