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Illinois soybean harvest underway
Looking for improvements
Butch Green farms outside of Ellsworth, Illinois. Standing next to this rented 36-acre field, Green watches his wife and grandson combine soybeans. Green says he finished the corn harvest over a week ago, the earliest of his long farm career. His corn yields ranged from 160 bushels per acre to 190. "I'm satisfied with the corn yields, but disappointed the yield potential was hurt by late-season dry weather.
Butch Green's wife drives the combine in this McClean County, Illinois bean field. Green says his family has harvested a few fields that have averaged 60 bushels per acre.
A little green
Green says many farmers in Illinois have reported the soybean plant stems are still a little green. But, the beans are at the cracking stage. "The green-like stems are a little tough going through the combine, but things are thrashing fine."
A McLean County, Illinois farmer checks his soybeans at harvest. Green says he is noticing more 3-bean pods this year. "If there are 4 beans, you'll see that last one be about half the size of the full-grown ones. Overall, Green is satisfied with his crops this year.
"The dry weather certainly took the top off these yields, in our area. The further south you go, the yields get better."
Dry weather damage
This farmer, choosing to remain anonymous, combines this soybean field near Cooksville, Illinois. Like other area farmers, this corn/soybean grower finished his corn harvest before the first day of fall. Averaging a corn yield of 168-170 bushels per acre, he agrees the late-season dry weather stunted the corn ear’s growth and ultimately cut yields.
I had a chance to ride along with this McLean County farmer on Saturday. Here’s a row-crop soybean combine head being used on 30-inch row planted beans. Though this farmer started his harvest with the row-crop head, he switched later. On this particular day, the green-like stems and a few wet spots caused the plants to bunch up in the belt areas. Ultimately, rain delayed finishing the field.
A crowd gathers
This year, everyone is waiting and watching to see what the U.S. harvest is going to turn out. Even these alpacas have their curiosity peaked as the combines hit the soybean fields in central Illinois. The brave alpaca in this photo didn’t wait around for a yield average though. Once this farmer cranked up the bean head, the curious on-looker headed for the hills.
Racing the rain
With rain threatening, this same farmer makes another stop to transfer his freshly harvested soybeans into the grain truck. Next stop for this load of beans, the local elevator.
At the Holder, Illinois grain elevator, this employee prepares to dump this truckload of 374 bushels of soybeans into the pit. The load of soybeans measured 12.2% moisture. So, not only has the central Illinois corn been harvested dry, the soybeans are coming in dry as well. Some farmers are looking forward to saving on grain-drying costs in 2010.