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Harvest Update: Farmers Focus on Corn as Fields Dry Out

Harvest Update: Farmers Focus on Corn as Fields Dry Out

Slow harvest means shorter lines at elevators

Each Friday through October Farm Futures will publish a harvest report based on inputs from farmers and grain dealers throughout the Midwest and northern Plains.

Long periods of rain-free weather had farmers back in the fields this week across the Midwest, with substantial progress being made on corn. Good yields have been common.

Despite the late harvest, there few if any reports of fallen corn stalks or of ears dropping.

Iowa – In the southeast , soybean harvest was near completion with yields in the high 50s to low 60s per acre. Attention had turned to corn, which had dried to 20% or less on moisture.

Slow harvest means shorter lines at elevators

John Heisdorffer said his corn was standing well, although some stalks were weak and "will not stand forever."

In the northwest, corn harvest began in earnest with yields of 160 to 190 bushels.

"The poor yields are in the low areas suggesting the September frost may have had a greater impact than first thought," said Brian Kemp of Sibley. "We are seeing good yields but not the record yields forecast earlier this year."

Grain moisture of 17% to 20% was common and the corn is standing well, with no dropped ears.

.In Iowa, spot cash basis bids ranged from 20 to 50 cents under December, with many of the best bids near the river in the east. Spot soybean bids were about 60 cents under November in many areas, but were 25 under near the river.

USDA said Iowa corn was 19% harvested as of Sunday and soybeans 61% versus the respective five-year averages of 53% and 77%.  The state's corn yield is estimated at 185 bushels and soybeans at 51 bushels, versus 2013's 165 and 45.5.

Illinois, Indiana >>


Illinois – Corn and soybeans were getting equal attention.

"Weather appears conducive for bean harvest to finish up this week. Yields still in a range from low 60's to low 80's," said Todd Tesdal, operations manager at Grainco FS in Mazon. "Producers remain eerily quiet about corn yields, which is a sure sign there's more out there than they thought."

He speculated yields of 220 to 280 bushels "will catch most of it." Test weights were 53lbs for 24% moisture and 55 lbs for 18%.

As of Sunday, USDA said 43% of Illinois corn was harvested versus the 63% average, and soybeans were 37% cut versus the 66% average. The state is forecast to yield 200 bushels on corn and 56 on soybeans, versus 2013's 178 and 50.

Indiana  -  Farmers were back in the fields, many for the first time in weeks. One benefit of the slow harvest pace has been shorter truck lines at elevators.

"If local producers didn't return to the soybean harvest on Thursday, it's safe to say most growers will try to make as much progress as possible through the weekend into what looks like a good chance of rain Tuesday of next week," said Christopher Hudson of Crawfordsville in west central Indiana.

Corn harvest was about 26% on his farm with yields of 245 to 255 bushels, with 23% to 26% moisture and 54 to 56 lbs test weights. Soybeans were yielding 65 to 80 bushels at 55 to 56 lbs per bushel.

"Lines the dump (elevator) have not been as bad, this might be due to increased on-farm storage and processing.  A -.40 basis (corn) might have something to do with that too," said Nick Frey in central Indiana.

One third of Frey's corn harvest is done, with "about a half-percent coming out every day." 

"Very few soybeans have found their way out of the field since Oct. 12th, when the last rainy pattern commenced.  We are still at 80% complete, and hoping to get beans wiped out before the weekend,"  he said.

USDA said 31% of Indiana's corn was harvested as of Sunday, versus the 51% average and 31% of the soybeans versus the 62% average.

USDA estimates Indiana's corn yield at 186 bushels and soybeans at 54 bushels, versus 2013's 177 and 51.5.

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