USDA says this year’s harvest latest since 1967
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Normally by this time of the year, corn harvest has wrapped up or is near to it. But this year is different.
With the exception of some dryland and high-moisture corn, harvest has yet to start full bore on the irrigated corn.
The latest weekly crop report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the corn harvest is four weeks behind the average and is the latest harvest since 1967. It’s 18 percent complete.
Much of the “thanks” for that can be attributed to Mother Nature.
In October, nearly 3.5 inches of moisture was recorded, along with 15 inches of snowfall. The latest eight and a half inches fell last Thursday, Oct. 29 and early Friday morning, the 30th.
While farmers know they should take moisture any time they get it, there’s a sense of urgency developing amongst them, especially since the calendar flipped into November.
The most harvest activity going on now comes on the lighter, sandier soil that has dried quicker than the heavier soils.
Still, the corn hasn’t dried down as expected. The corn coming into local elevators has been averaging 20-plus percent moisture, requiring the corn to be dried before being stored.
It’s not just the corn that’s still standing—soybean harvest is still underway to some extent in the area.
Statewide, the soybean harvest stands more than two-thirds complete, but is now more than two weeks behind. It’s the latest harvest since 1984.
Drier weather expected
Farmers will get some good harvest weather over nine of the next 10 days, according to forecasts.
Temperatures are expected to hit the low to mid-70s today (Thursday) and Friday, followed by highs in the low to mid-60s Saturday and Sunday.
Temperatures will hover in the low 50’s next week with Monday being the only big chance for rain.
If temperatures can climb for four days, it will go a long way to drying out the corn, as well as the muddy fields.
The wet conditions also play havoc with keeping country roads in shape for the harvest season.
High moisture harvest continues
With the recent weather, moisture levels have stayed up in the corn, allowing farmers with high-moisture contracts to make delivery, provided they can get in the fields.
Imperial Beef is still taking high-moisture corn for their feeding operations.
Brad Foote, owner and manager, said they hope to be finished by the end of next week.
He said they’re getting corn again, with moisture levels running from 24 to 32 percent.
He said the lower limit to put the corn into the high-moisture pile is around 24 percent. Any lower than that and it doesn’t “cook” as well in the pile.
Foote and other cattle feeders also noted the wet weather has created sloppy conditions in their lots.
He’s hoping a stretch of dry weather over the next 10 days will improve conditions.