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Crop Tech Tour Finds Big Yields, Big Equipment
Indiana, Illinois Harvest
With the Midwest harvest season moving rapidly, farmer visits in Illinois and Indiana show better yields and more selling off the combine to capture profits from sharply higher grain markets. Mike McGinnis, Agriculture.com Chicago Markets Bureau Chief (pictured on right in green), joined a group of Brazilian ag reporters Friday recording this year’s harvest activity. Craig Stevens, CERES Solutions, (center), a crop consultant in western Indiana, directed the tour.
10,000 acre farm
The Wuethrich family combines a portion of their 4,000 acres of soybeans near Francesville, Indiana. As of Friday, the Wuethrich’s, were halfway finished with their harvest. In all, the western Indiana farm family will harvest 6,000 acres of corn and 4,000 acres of soybeans.
Brandon Wuethrich, combining soybeans, finds time to smile enjoying soybean yields of 55 bushels per acre on lighter soils. Brandon says his corn recorded yields of 200 bushels per acre, this year. Wuethrich says his family has one-third of its crop sold. They like to store the rest and try to catch the ‘carry’ in the market. The soybean bins are cleaned out each March. Based on their marketing plan, the Wuethrich’s will haul corn all year long, trying to catch maximum profits.
With the family considered early adopters, Dustin Wuetrich sits comfortably in this technology-equipped combine. A new belt-driven combine head feeds soybeans into the combine evenly, creating less bean loss. Also, the Wuetrich’s run trax tires on their tractors. They are considering purchasing the trax tires for their combines, a piece of equipment that will be manufactured in coming years. In addition, they use the Ag Leader monitor for tracking data on their sprayers, combines, and planter-tractors. Next year, this Indiana farm-family will consider implementing variable rate soybean and corn planting into their operation.
This touring group caught up with brothers Jeff and Scott Green (pictured left-to-right), as they harvested corn near Rensselaer, Indiana.
Lights, Camera, Action
With 3,200 acres of corn to harvest, the Green’s were running into the evening hours. The Green’s say their corn is averaging between 160-200 bushels per acre this year. The Green’s have one-third of their crop sold and they plan to store two-thirds.
The Green’s planted all of this year’s corn on acres that were planted to corn last year. Craig Stevens, a local crop consultant, says a lot of farmers may be sticking with corn next year as well. Because of economics, farmers are finishing harvest and applying fertilizer, Stevens says.
At The Port
In Utica, Illinois, McGinnis and the Brazilian reporters toured the Consolidated Grain & Barge terminal along the Illinois River. The facility has a storage capacity of 3.8 million bushels. Perhaps telling of this year’s harvest, the company has a new 7,000-bushel per hour drying system that hasn’t been used. McGinnis is pictured next to the facility’s belt that is rated to auger 42,000 bushels of grain per hour.
Trucks Line Up
Trucks were lining up to unload corn and soybeans. David Hillard, on-site manager, says the facility has been busy receiving early harvested grain. In a 10-hour period, the facility unloads 486 semi-tractor trailers. Construction is underway to increase that capacity.
Soybeans Flow To Market
A Consolidated Grain & Barge employee helps unload a semi loaded with corn. Hillard says the corn is grading out very high on delivery. Though some farmers have been bringing in corn, most loads have been soybeans this week. Farmers are trying to sell into the market rally. Therefore, the soybeans are rapidly flowing into the river terminal and being placed right onto barges.
Load It Up
As mentioned, the soybeans at this central Illinois river terminal are being placed directly onto a barge headed for the Gulf of Mexico. One barge can hold between 50,000-60,000 bushels of soybeans. Right now, the Illinois River water level is lower than normal. For this reason, there are loading restrictions, Hillard says. In all, a barge trip from Utica, Illinois to Louisiana will take three weeks to complete. Lately, the rail rates have been competitively priced, causing this river terminal to fight for marketshare.