Harvest Update from the Combine

November 6, 2017 11:44 AM
Soybean harvest

Farmers from across the country saw their fair share of surprises this year, both pleasant and not so pleasant. Learn what farmers had to report from the combine seat on AgWeb’s Crop Comments section and the weekly Farmer Forum segment on “AgriTalk” the first two weeks of October.


Yields are exceeding Illinois corn-and-soybean farmer Dale Hadden’s expectations. “We’ve been really fortunate,” he says. “We’ve stayed in the low 200 bu. range.” He expected only the top-end yields to be 180 bu. to 200 bu. per acre and is beating that by 40 bu. in some cases. Replant acres could throw off his average, though. “We have a lot of replant, and replanted replant corn that’s still pretty green and needs time to mature,” Hadden says.

“A couple growers said they recently cut a few acres of soybeans and were pleased with the yields—mid 60s,” he adds.


Farmers are seeing variable yields and areas where crops struggled in Indiana. On Don Lamb’s corn and soybean farm near Lebanon, he’s seeing yields lower than in previous years. “[Corn] has been in the 130s to 190s so far,” Lamb notes. Normally, corn yields range from 180 bu. to 200 bu. per acre. “We have about 100 acres of corn harvested and 600 to 700 acres of soybeans done,” he adds.

Soybeans are exceptionally dry at 8% to 9% moisture going through the combine. He blames poor yield on excessive rain early in the season that lead to replant and extensive weed pressure. Lamb isn’t sure what to expect for yields for the rest of harvest.


Parts of the Hawkeye State resembled a well-cared for garden this year, while other areas endured drought. Farmers remain optimistic even though yields are down compared with 2016.

Brent Judisch, who raises corn and soybeans in east-central Iowa, lucked out with timely rains and mild temperatures. As of early October, he hadn’t started harvesting soybeans but said his neighbors were seeing yields about 10 bu. per acre below last year. “USDA had us pegged at 203 bu. per acre [for corn], and I think they’re going to be spot on,” Judisch says.

Farther west, a farmer from Polk County, Iowa, says he’s happy with yields considering the somewhat dire circumstances he experienced this year. “Just finished my first 80 acres of soybeans in central Iowa. Expected to see around 40 bu. per acre but got 47 bu. at an average of 12.5% moisture. Three-year average yield on this field is 57 bu. per acre. A 17% drop in yield is less than I expected considering the year we had. Field was extremely varied. All in all, I’m thankful to have what we have,” he reports.

In Dallas County, Iowa, conditions look a little rougher. “Corn harvest hasn’t started but soybean combines are rolling. Just completed my early group two soybeans and got 27 bu. per acre average. But considering we mudded in the planting in early June and never got another decent rain until mid-August, I consider this a success. What was even more of a success were the weeds. They don’t need rain to grow.”


Yields in Kansas are hit or miss based on rainfall and irrigation. “We’re averaging over 200 bu. per acre [corn], but five miles west and on out west, you’ve got to feel for those guys who didn’t have rain; they’re seeing some zeros out there,” says Ken McCauley, who farms near White Cloud. His farm received ¼" rains here and there, which saved his crops, he says, but farmers to the west of him are seeing incredible variability. Yield monitors can jump to 300 bu. and fall to 40 bu. or 50 bu. per acre in mere seconds in corn.

On his farm, soybeans are looking good at 60 bu. to 70 bu. per acre, but neighbors to the west are only 40 bu. to 50 bu. per acre. “I still don’t think USDA is correct,” he says in regard to the final yield average for the state. “They need to lower yield and total production because you still have variable areas.”


Some Kentucky farmers are on track to top record corn yields. “Corn is phenomenal this year,” says Quint Pottinger. “We had good heat and rain all through July and just kept getting those 1" to 1.5" rains every week and a half.”

The rain promoted diseases such as Southern Rust, though. Farmers who sprayed fungicide will have stellar corn yields, but soybeans might not have that same success, Pottinger says. “For about two weeks, [we were] down into the 50s—it shut down our beans,” he says. Pod counts aren’t quite where he wants them to be.


The North Star State might be in a race with Mother Nature to avoid harvesting in the snow, according to one Crop Comment from Nobles County. “Harvest in our area is looking to be quite a bit later than normal. We are about a week behind in soybean harvest right now, and the seven-day forecast is for rain every day. It’s gonna be another fall fighting the mud. I hope the markets figure this out soon and give us a little bump. I won’t be holding my
breath, though.”


High corn test weights and soybean yields seem to be somewhat common in Missouri. On Charlie Kruse’s corn, soybean and cotton farm in the Bootheel, yields are higher than a normal year—more than 200 bu. per acre in corn and exceptional in soybeans despite higher-than-normal herbicide damage. Kruse says timely rainfall promoted the crops’ success.


Yields are a little below what farmers hoped for in Wis-consin. One Crop Comment from Saint Croix County reports, “soybeans so far are running 53 bu. to 54 bu. per acre, which I consider a good crop. That being said, it is 10 bu. per acre less than last year, which was a record for our farm.”






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