Between the Rows-September 12, 2011

“We’ve had a lot of rain in the last couple of weeks. It should be enough now to finish filling the beans and give some kernel depth to the corn. These rains did come in time to help because the corn and beans were so late. The rain has done us a lot of good. It would have been great if it was a week sooner, but it still really helped.

“The crops are so green yet. We need a lot of warm weather to move these crops along. Last year, we started chopping silage on Aug. 25, though, and we’re probably still three weeks away from chopping silage. Last year, we started bean harvest on Sept. 12 and finished on the 25th. Last year, we started corn harvest on Sept. 25 at 15% moisture and we finished on Oct. 16. We’re probably a month away from harvesting beans and more than that for corn. We are so green here yet. If we get a late frost, it would be great. I think our average frost is around Oct. 12.

“On our 800 acres of corn silage, our yields look like they will be about normal tonnage. Any time you plant later, you get more foliage and more growth. In conferring with my son Mike today, we feel that our commercial corn is probably off 15%. We knew that some of that was already factored in when you plant in June.

“We think our beans are off 20%. We think they may be hurt worse than our corn. We just don’t have much growth to our beans. They are around knee high. Again, when you plant in June, you’ve got to expect some of that. If we would have had earlier rains, we may have avoided some of that. It is so variable, though. There are areas of the county that will have average yields.

“We’ve gotten a couple of inches over the last week and a half. It may have helped some of the corn in the area, but not most of it. To the north they have finally been getting rains. They still haven’t been getting as much as we have, but they like what they are getting. A lot of the corn was too far done to benefit from the rains. It didn’t dry up from maturity; it dried up because of the hot dry conditions. It was pretty dry up there.

“Our beans still look really good and I hope with this last rain they will be near average. I guess we’ll know here in a couple of weeks. I still think the corn yields are going to be 20% off of average.

“There are beans here or there turning, but most of them are still green. There will be corn ready in the next week or so and there is some that is still a couple of weeks away. The June 6 planted corn is a good two or three weeks off yet. The stuff that got planted on May 12 will be in the next week or two.

“Only time will tell. It won’t be long now. Everyone is trying to guess what this crop will be but nobody seems to have a handle on it. I think we’re all excited to get in there. We will all have our highs and we will all have our lows. There may be fields around here with 50 bushels on the hills and 220 in the good ground. We’ll have to see what it averages out to.

“I think we’re going to have some anthracnose because of the dryness, but I am not seeing other diseases out there. The corn is going to slow down with maturity a little bit. Most guys I think will wait for it to dry down to at least 25% moisture.”

“We got another nine-tenths yesterday and these latest rains were still helping the bean size. There was a streak that went through the middle of the afternoon yesterday that had a bunch of hail in it. It went south of me and east of me. It dumped an inch of rain in a few minutes, and the hail shredded a few leaves.

“The corn is all black layered and in the process of drying down. Some varieties of the soybeans are starting to turn. We have a local farmer thinking about starting harvest in a week. I am thinking we are at least two weeks out. That would put us the last week of September. I’d say we’ll probably be at it pretty hard around the first of October, which might be a little later than we have started in the last few years. But, years ago when the hybrids were wetter, we would usually start around that time.

“I think things caught up pretty well with all of the heat this summer. The soybeans are looking good, but I can’t tell what they will do. The corn looks like it might average around 140-plus bushels, which will be a little off the last several years because we have had pretty nice yields. I have heard a lot of people talking about yields in the 150s, but all of those wet spots are still out there from the spring and they will hurt things when everything is averaged out. And, there is some corn disease out there. Some grey leaf spot is showing up.

“There will be a little bit of wheat planted around here, but not as a much as normal. This was an awful hard year for wheat in our area and I think that will contribute to guys not planting as much this year.”

“We have had some heavy dews in the morning and little rains to keep things from drying out too much. I’d say we’re a lot better off than areas like to the east that got dumped on or where they are drying up in Texas. We did get rained out Saturday afternoon, but we’re not terribly wet.

“The later beans have benefited from the rain and maybe even the later corn. We need some warmer drier weather to help get the crops to dry down. We started chopping a little corn last week to get one bag full. Kernels are dented nicely, but the stalks are wetter than you think they’d be. It is yielding really well, probably every bit of 25 tons per acre.

I think we have been pretty fortunate this year and we’ll have a pretty decent crop. With what we’re seeing so far I am pretty satisfied, but we’ll have to see what happens when we get the combines out.

“We’re probably three weeks from harvest. Hot weather will make a difference, but there are still a lot of green corn and soybeans out there. It may be a little later than usual, but last year it was Labor Day when we were done chopping corn, which was very early. “With hay, we finished up third cutting a couple of weeks ago. The fourth cutting for alfalfa looks really nice. As cool as it has been, it should be some really high testing high quality feed. Those cold nights always seem to help with quality.

Right now, we’re just working on projects around the farm and trying to get a grain bin or two built. We’re plugging away and waiting for the crops to dry down.”

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