A midweek rain shower this past week slowed but didn’t stop local farmers from shelling corn and picking soybeans.
According to Monday’s crop report, producers from across the state have hopped aboard their combines and hit the fields.
And this year’s harvest is looking a lot better than a year ago when yields were reduced by drought.
“There’s some 200-bushel acres in here, and we’re averaging about 180 bushels an acre,” Brownstown farmer Parke Vehslage said Tuesday afternoon.
“That’s about double what we did a year ago,” Vehslage said.
Vehslage said he hit the fields about a week ago, and a 2-inch rain last week didn’t slow them down much.
“It was a welcomed rain,” he said. “It helped the crops mature.”
A late dry spell had been hurting crops, Vehslage said after completing another day in the fields.
Vehslage said he hasn’t started on his beans yet and expects soybean yields might be just a little lower because of that dry spell.
Jay Schepman of Seymour also was busy shelling corn and said yields were much better than a year ago.
“We started three or four days ago,” he said.
Last week’s rainfall likely helped late-planted and double-cropped soybeans as well as wheat, pastures and cover crops, according to the weekly report, published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
That report shows the percentage of corn harvest statewide was 6 percent as of Sunday, up from 2 percent a week earlier.
Jackson County Extension educator Richard Beckort said local farmers are making some good headway because of generally good weather conditions.
“I think some of them are just getting it out while the weather is good instead of waiting,” Beckort said. “They may have to dry the corn some, but with 80-degree days it doesn’t take long.”
And it beats going out into a wet, muddy field, he said.
Overall, Beckort estimated that Jackson County farmers likely have harvested 15 percent to 20 percent of this year’s corn production.
Most of that likely is coming from a strip down the middle of the county that contains mostly sandy soils, Beckort said.
“That’s where the early-planted corn is,” he said. “Some of that was planted in April.”
He said there’s still a lot of late-planted corn that is green.
The dry spell also means some soybeans are ready to be harvested, Beckort said.
A year ago, 25 percent of the corn crop in the state was harvested through the same period, according to the crop report. The five-year average is 14 percent.
Just 4 percent of the soybeans had been harvested through Sunday, up from 1 percent a week ago. Last year, 9 percent of the soybeans were harvested, and that’s also the five-year average.
The report also shows that 47 percent of the corn crop was good and 44 percent of the soybean crop was good.
Corn prices have trended downward in recent weeks, and that means many producers are planning to hold on to their corn.
That’s what Vehslage said he plans to do.
“I have about 40 percent of it sold,” he said. The rest will await better prices.