Fall harvest underway in county

Fall harvest underway in county

MACOUPIN COUNTY (Oct. 5, 2017) – The familiar sight of farm machinery in the fields of Macoupin County means that it is harvest time.

Some fields have already been harvested; others are in the process and some have yet to get started.

Clark Van Buskirk, area manager for M&M Service Company in Carlinville, says yields are average to better than average thus far in the early going.

He said that the harvest isn’t necessarily earlier than normal.

“The yields are average to better than average,” VanBuskirk said. “Lot of people thought we would be average to below as a whole, but it turns out it’s average to better.”

The moisture of the crop, Van Buskirk says, has dried down fairly quickly.

“Any areas that got rain are producing very well, any areas that didn’t are going to be in that average to below average yield,” Van Buskirk said.

Lack of rain in September in the area have had some concerned heading into the fall harvest.

“We have not had much rain – it seems like stalk quality on the corn is better than it usually is this time of year,” Van Buskirk said. “There’s a whole lot of green still on the plant, which is helping the stalk quality. Yet, the grain is drier than what you would think it would be.”

Yield prices could vary by 100 bushels an acre, Van Buskirk said.

“I’ve had some people say that in one field or one swipe through the field it’s gone from 140 to 280,” Van Buskirk said. “Unfortunately, you need the higher number to even come close to break-even prices with the way the commodity prices are now. They are very low.”

The fact that the river is very low and barges cannot load to full capacity has an impact as well.

Some producers would like to put in some fall cover crops and wheat seeding, but with the dry conditions, it may hinder that idea.

WSMI Radio farm director Katie Wilson added that the harvest in the area has been going well, although the dry conditions have made for an unusual set of circumstances.

“It has been very dry, which has made many acres of soybeans dry down and be harvested before corn fields,” Wilson said. “That’s kind of unique as usually it’s the other way around.”

Wilson said that farmers are harvesting beans and letting corn acres dry down in the field to avoid the cost of drying.

She said the state’s corn harvest is at 21 percent complete, while soybeans are around 30 percent complete at this point.

“Harvest is on time, but may run later as farmers had to replant in the spring and they are waiting for those crops to mature,” Wilson said. “Reports on yields for corn and beans have been ‘better than expected.’ Grain quality has also been good.”