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Corn yields disappoint in early harvest action

Jeff Caldwell 09/01/2010 @ 11:06am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

The combines are rolling in the central Corn Belt, and though yields and moisture tallies are coming across the scale fairly varied, there's one constant so far: Yields aren't quite where many farmers have been hoping.

"The wheels started turning this past Monday and we are starting to see the effects that Mother Nature has left on our corn crop," says Mt. Pulaski, Illinois, farmer Doug Martin. "Although we have not done a lot I would say that yields are 25%-35% less than last year on what we have done so far."

Down the road from Martin, around Macon, Illinois, lower-than-expected yields have taught farmer Paul Butler a lesson: Earlier isn't always better.

"The yields were pretty disappointing, under 150 bushels per acre on ground I thought would go over 200," Butler says after a day of early harvesting earlier this week. "I was warned not to plant that early of corn here."

Martin and Butler aren't alone in their early yield assessments: Farmersforthefuture.com member Chad Berger says some farmers in his area around Covington, Indiana, have been running for the last week and generally finding lower yields and 20%-plus moisture levels. But, with strong demand, elevator operators are helping defray the costs to get those moisture levels knocked down.

"There are a few guys running around here. Was told that around Savoy, Illinois, guys are running full-bore...corn's testing 21% to 22% and elevators are offering 1/2-rate drying. Corn is around 100 bushels/acre."

South of Berger, moisture levels are lower, letting farmers move quickly. Matthew Ivy says moisture's running around 17% in early harvest around his Boonville, Missouri, farm.


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