While Michigan's harvest is 10 percentage points behind average pace, yields aren't lagging.
USDA's latest crop progress report shows 31% of Michigan’s corn has been harvested so far, 10 points behind the average pace. Yields, however, aren’t lagging.
"Yields have been anywhere from average to excellent, probably on the excellent side a little bit more than the average side," says John White, who farms in southwest Michigan.
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He says each year, they hike into the field doing yield checks mid-summer. After pulling back a few husks this year, it revealed just how good this crop may actually be.
"We knew it was going to at least be average, so the extra has been nice," he says.
On a typical year, non-irrigated yields range from 140 to 165 bushels per acre. Irrigated can come in anywhere from 220 to 250 bu. per acre. Unlike many other areas of the Midwest, these impressive yields come as no surprise for White. Near ideal growing conditions in early summer only fed the high yields.
"Precipitation was good," he says. "The agronomist we work with has been talking to me since July, talking about how ideal the growing conditions were this year. We had near perfect highs and lows for June, July and August."
Just east of White, another farmer told AgDay it rained during the month of July for the first time in six years. That’s producing some of the best dryland corn yields many farmers in that area have ever seen. The crop is so large many grain elevators are having a hard time keeping up.
The summer wasn’t perfect. It did turn off dry in August. Jones doesn't grow many soybeans, but he said the dry month hurt overall area bean yields. Another issue in Michigan has been white mold. That’s also dragging the soybean number down.
With ideal corn yields, however, you won't hear many complaints; the moisture in the crop is just as good.
"We started at the end of September, corn was 24 percent," says Jones. "Today, we're running 17 or 18 percent, so, almost ideal."
He says if Mother Nature would remain perfect the rest of the season, they'd be finished harvesting in just 10 days. But rain is in the forecast the remainder of the week, meaning these machines will get a break.
As White watches this golden grain rushing in, his summary of 2013 is said with a smile.
"It’s been a good year."