A slow, steady start to harvest

Kyle Stackhouse Corn reel on Case IH combine head in a shed.
This fall we took time to install a corn reel on the corn head to help pick up down corn.
Yields disappoint, but we did capitalize on early harvest ship bids.

As you know, we began harvest a couple weeks ago. It has been slow going, but we crawled across 10-15% of our acreage, and accomplished a couple of our goals of starting early.

First, we wanted to get grain early so that we could capitalize on early harvest ship bids. With the temperatures we’ve been experiencing I calculated the cost of drying was less than 1.5 cents per point per bushel. It would be great if above average temperatures would continue because the cost of propane has doubled since last year.

Since we have been harvesting close to home, drivers have been able to focus on getting the quick ship corn delivered rather than being consumed with loads from the field to the home facility.

Finding the weak points

The second objective of starting early was to find weak points and issues before the big push into harvest. Oh boy have we done that! From airbags and lightbulbs going out on semi tractors/trailers, to oil leaks and fuel pump problems on the combine, there has been no shortage of items to get fixed.

We also took this time to install a corn reel on the corn head. You saw pictures I took in July, unfortunately though fields are not flat, there have been many small (or not so small) areas in fields that have fallen down. We know some of that was from wind, and suspect cannibalization from late dryness has compounded the problem.

Hopefully once this rainy spell is over, we will be ready to push. Soybeans needed this rain to knock off leaves and take the yellow out of the stems and pods. We will also be ready to spread some cover crops and start tillage.

Yield outlook

Generally, everyone I have talked to except one has spoken of disappointing corn yields. Was it the deluge of rain in June? The low solar radiation? Maybe tar spot? Likely a combination of all of the above. It is kind of frustrating. We weren’t expecting records, but we were expecting things to be better than they have been so far. That said, everything could change as we harvest later plantings or different maturities. We hope yields improve, but with better prices, it doesn’t hurt as much.

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