Illinois Farmers Mudding Out Corn Harvest

  • 01

    Though central Illinois farmers hope to dry out this week, the field conditions remain muddy. This cornfield was being harvested, over the weekend, with obvious less than ideal conditions. Not only is the field wet, the driver of the grain cart reported corn moisture levels at 24-25%. After starting this field with tires, the decision was made to put tracks on the combine.

  • 02

    The compaction was the worst on the outside rows, according to Zach Gasparini, the combine operator harvesting this muddy field. The farmers hope they can lessen the compaction damage. “We’re hoping for a good winter freeze. Plus, we will chisel plow this field, when we are done harvesting.”

  • 03

    Located just outside Bloomington, Illinois, the field that Gasparini harvested offered up many challenges. “We’re in this field because we already have some downed corn out in the middle. We’re afraid if we wait any longer, we could have more downed corn,” Gasparini says.

  • 04

    After stopping at a nearby restaurant, I found out that this farm operation working this muddy field was not alone. The restaurant’s waitress revealed that many farmers were saying they were getting combines stuck from the recent rainfall events. “As one farmer left the restaurant, the other day, he joked with the others that he’ll be calling them soon to come pull him out of the field,” the worker said.

  • 05

    Despite the muddy conditions and wet corn, the yields from this field seemed to be representative of this year’s expectations for a record crop. “The monitor is reading anywhere from 250-270 bushels per acre. Heck, it even jumps over 300 at times,” Gasparini says.

  • 06

    So where is all of this corn going? This particular operation has 10 trucks that are picking up corn in two separate locations and hauling it to a private elevator in Lincoln, Illinois. “It’s a good year to store it,” Gasparini says.

  • 07

    Steve Dennis, Evergreen FS Elevator Manager, McLean County, Illinois, says the harvest is picking up and the corn is beginning to pile up. Just outside of Yuton, Illinois, this facility has 2.2 million bushels in outside storage. This corn will be left outside until March.

  • 08

    “This will be the biggest McLean County corn crop ever,” Dennis says. This facility has five 50-car train units scheduled for October already. “The railroad companies are already behind,” Dennis says. We’re suppose to get a train unit every 10 days. That is not happening.”

Though warmer, drier weather's making harvest easier now, it's already been a slog for some farmers in central Illinois.

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