Between the Rows-September 26, 2011

“It quit raining this morning but it is really wet. If there are any bare spots you can see pockets of water sitting around. This time of year when the days are getting shorter and it gets cooler, the ground just doesn’t dry out. We really don’t need any more water. It would have to be the weekend at best before we could get into the fields to chop silage, but the crop is still not quite there yet anyway. In 2009 we started chopping in October. This will be another pretty late start for chopping silage.

“There were a few beans we got in during May that are probably 10 days or two weeks away from harvest yet. The rest of the beans are close to four weeks away from doing anything yet. Even our early maturity corn that we planted in June, none of that is even close to black layer yet. We’re a long, long ways off.

“We’re not planning on planting any wheat at all. The only reason we would is if we wanted to do some tiling or something. The disparity between the corn price and the wheat is just too much for us to think about planting wheat this fall.

“The May corn that we have, has very poor ear retention where it was drought stressed. I didn’t shake the stalks very hard and two out of the 10 stalks I tried dropped the ear. And, the ears haven’t even dropped. When that ear wants to flip south it could get a lot worse.  I haven’t seen any stalk problems, but I am worried about ear rots because of the conditions we’ve got in the fields. That is my biggest concern moving forward.”

“We’re just getting a couple of peeks at the sun. I think we’re done with the rain for today. I would say that the rain put a halt to harvest for a couple of days.

“The ethanol plant was taking up to 30% corn too, and a lot of guys started shelling corn for that reason. And that’s what most of the corn was — 25% to 30% moisture. In our area, yields have been average to above average. If you get out of the area 5 to 10 miles, we’re hearing a lot of corn yields in the 80s and 90s. Right around here in the Arcanum area, we’re hearing a lot of mid-190s. Up in Greenville they are around 90-bushel yields. In Preble County we’ve heard about yields of 45 bushels to the low 100s. We’ve seen our yield monitor go from about 50 to 290 in the same field.

“There are already some downed stalks. If we wait for it to dry down, we’re going to be asking for problems. We ran just a little over 100 acres of corn so far and there is a long way to go.

“We have about another 100 acres we could run and we have 200 acres of beans we could run if the fields were fit. I heard of one field of beans taken off around Greenville two weeks ago that was yielding in the mid-20s. There is a big range in yields depending on water holding capacity in the soil.

We could maybe get back in the fields by Wednesday or Thursday if it stops raining now. We’re pleasantly pleased so far and we hope it continues.”

The rains have put a damper on most efforts to get started with harvest in the area. “It is a little soggy. “We haven’t harvested anything personally, but we do have neighbors around who have started some corn. One operator south of me cut a few beans. This, of course, was the first planted corn. They were kind of surprised with the yield. Test weight isn’t what it was last year, but it is decent. The moisture is high though, 27% to 30%.

“I haven’t really heard about any yields yet, but one guy said he was 30 or 40 bushels off of last year, but last year was a good year, so that is not bad yields. We might be pleasantly surprised with yields in the immediate area.”

The crops, though, in most fields still need more time to mature and dry down before they can be harvested. “I could harvest some of my corn if I wanted to buy LP gas. I think we need to have two weeks yet, especially with some of these soybeans. That puts us at the second week of October.”

The weather is going to need to turn around soon, or harvest will be slowed even further. “I hope we have a good October so we can get it done. We’re supposed to be cloudy this week and it is supposed to clear up this weekend.”

Stalk quality does not seem to be an issue yet. “So far I think the stalks are holding up alright, as long as we don’t get high winds through it.”

“It is not terribly wet, but it is smeary out there. It is definitely on the wet side. We had a nice last couple of days, but it rained late last week.”

The slow crop progress has delayed harvest so far, other than some silage chopping. “We had chopped a little corn. We got one bag full and haven’t done anything since. We’re probably looking at another four or five days until we can do more. We’re looking at four to five days until it is dry enough, depending on the weather. It is going to be a late fall, that’s for sure. We have maybe 90 acres of beans that could run this week.

“Not too far away, a guy did take beans off, but that has been about it. If we have a couple good drying days we could get into harvest, depending on how much rain we get.”

The crops need more time as well. “Stuff still looks good, but it is still green. So far, everything is still standing pretty decent. So far they look pretty good. The stalks were standing well when we were chopping, but we have only done about 12 or 14 acres.”

For now, there is little to do but wait and work on other jobs around the farm. “We’re cleaning out part of a barn today and we’re working on projects around the farm. We made some fourth cutting a week ago last Sunday. We may have anther 100 acres to make when the weather straightens out.”

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