Fall Crop Tour hits northern Illinois
Dwight Olson farms just north of Interstate 88 near Maple Park, Illinois. His corn has averaged 185 bushels/acre and soybeans 55 to 60 bu/acre. He's having a good year, having been fortunate enough to receive July rains that others did not. He knows that not too far up the road, the harvest picture looks much different.
Lynn Martz farms with her husband and son farms about 6,000 acres and feeds about 7,000 head of cattle per year, with some custom-feeding business. "Considering we're 12 inches below normal on rainfall, I'm happy with our crop yields," Marz says. Corn will average 145 bu/acre and soybeans 58 to 60 bu./acre.
It's nice to see the younger generation get a start on learning the ropes of farming. Justin is holding his 2-year-old son, Jaxson. What you don't see is Justin's wife off to the side that is holding the couple's 4-month-old daughter. "In June, it looked like we would have the best crop ever. But, the rains never came. But, we are better off than a lot of others this year," Justin Martz says.
The Martz family runs 2 combines, a grain cart that holds 1,050 bushels and two semi trucks to bring the crop out of the field. As of Monday, the Martzes are finished with soybean harvesting and almost finished with their corn crop.
The next stop turned out to be the 'honey hole' of northern Illinois, Ogle County. Farmers say there was an area that was 15 miles wide and 60 miles long that received crop-saving rains. This Polo, Illinois, rail facility is taking corn from farmers that are reporting yields way above 200 bu/acre with an average of 15% moisture.
In northern Illinois, the weather is right for harvesting and fall fieldwork. This Ogle County farmer couldn't wait to disc the harvest leftovers. As you'll notice, this field won't even sit for an hour after being harvested, with 2 rigs right behind the combine.
Here's a combine that is using a 16-row head that our harvest tour group caught in the field. It's the talk of the neighborhood, according to Ogle County, Illinois, area farmers.
As you go north closer to the Illinois/Wisconsin border, you see that not everybody is whistling Dixie. Some farmers harvested their poor crop early just to help others that actually had a good crop. Some farmers could only find corn on a third of their field, one local gas station attendant reported.
This Ogle County, Illinois, farmer is delivering freshly harvested corn to the Bocker-Ruff Grain Polo, Illinois, rail elevator. The elevator is paying $7.37 per bushel for cash corn as of Monday. We're not buying a lot of new corn, mainly stuff that was already contracted," says Paul Behrends, elevator general manager. "Farmers are still bullish."
After traveling through northern Illinois, these reporters only noticed that a few soybean fields were left unharvested. For those farmers that have cut beans, the average yields have been in the 40s and 50s.
While riding in the combine with Jon Rosensteil, a farmer near Shannon, Illinois, it was obvious that harvest weather has turned colder. At his feet, Rosenteil had broken out the Carhartt jacket and gloves already. "I'm 50% sold on this year's crop. With corn averaging 110 bu/acre, I'm able to fill my contracts. Right now, I'm bullish corn," Rosenteil says.
Here's an area with a lot of yield highs and lows (photos by Mike McGinnis & Christian Rizzi).