Harvest 2009: Bumpers and Bummers

December 19, 2009 06:00 PM

Greg Vincent, AgWeb Editor
Depending on where you are in the United States, the harvest of 2009 has brought some good surprises with a bumper crop…or it's been a bummer because of significant crop losses like those experienced in the Mid-South. Perhaps the most unfortunate cases are for those of you who still don't have the final verdict because you're harvest still isn't finished.
Maybe you'll realize that your yields look pretty good in comparison to your farming brethren a few states away. Or if you're one of the many farmers still scrambling to finish up 2009 before the calendar turns to 2010, maybe it's a place to share your concerns with others in the same position.
We're Happy…Considering…
In many places throughout the Midwest, producers are reaping rewards of high yields but are being challenged with difficulties of quality. And the weather continues to wreak havoc for those who still need to finish their harvest.
East Central Indiana: Here is a picture of our last day in the field on Dec 5th. Corn turned out to be average to 60 bushels above average in some fields. We had some corn that was as high as 10% mold. With the mold discounts and the drying bills, we are considering this year to be average over-all and are very thankful for how it turned out. In August we were concerned! Life is Good!
-- East Central Indiana

(Have any photos of the crops on your farm?
Send them to AgWeb and have them posted on Crop Comments!
Be sure to include a caption.)
Southern Iowa: There is a lot of corn left to harvest in our part of southern Iowa. The snow (14 inches) filled in the rows and drifted across the entire farm. The ground is now no longer frozen with the snow pack...but with the temps above freezing the last few days, the snow has come off the stalks. It looks to be clear and cold this week after this little shot of nasty this morning. We are going to give it a go again this weekend and see if we can finish up the last of what is out there. There is good and bad... The good: old timers can't believe that this corn is still standing and it is a tribute to the hybrid corn these days. The bad: the old timers have not ever seen a year like this with all the rain...and now the snow. Nobody is quite sure what to expect when we try to plow these combines out into the fields to try and get the rest of our crop in...through the drifts.
Crooks, S.D.: Clips of harvest for the week, we have 600 acres to go, and a foot of snow on the way today. We have gotten a few inches but nothing major yet
How 2010 Will Be Impacted
Some of the contributors to crop comments are now getting concerned about their plans for 2010 considering this year's dragging harvest. It could mean less…maybe even none…field work this fall and more work next spring.
Menard/Logan counties, Central Illinois: Parents finished in 1967 on Dec. 23, but we have so much better equipment now. We finished on Dec. 13. Two months behind schedule and only 250 acres NH4 on. 
Been helping neighbors last two days and still corn and just a few acres of soybeans out there yet. Elevators were just not capable of all the wet corn. Wife never did get stuck with the combine though. Off this morning to finish up another neighbor. 
Last corn we harvested when ground was frozen will be easy to no-till soybeans into, rutted ground is another story. Seed corn people have been visiting constantly, I have never been so far behind in knowing what we will plant where and when as this year. Generally we know what we are doing for next year, before we start harvesting the current crop, now all plans are out the window.
Let us know what you're thinking for next year and if the lateness of this year's crop is altering your original thinking. E-mail to cropcomments@agweb.com.
Even In Texas
While the spinach crop in south Texas looks like a bumper this year.

Spinach harvesting in Southwest Texas was delayed slight by wet weather, but the crop is doing very well this year, according to Dr. Larry Stein, Texas AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo by Dr. Larry Stein) 

(Have any photos of the crops on your farm? Send them to AgWeb and have them posted on Crop Comments! Be sure to include a caption.)

…that white stuff you see in this west Texas cotton below? It isn't cotton. Well, not all of it anyway.  
Winter weather slowed the cotton harvest in the western parts of the state, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel. The wet, cold weather also slowed or halted other field activities, but where there was accompanying moisture, winter pastures and wheat benefited, AgriLife Extension reports stated.

It's hard to tell the snow from the cotton in this field in Tom Green County. It was the first snow in the county in three years that resulted in any accumulation, said Steve Byrns, Texas AgriLife Extension Service communications specialist, San Angelo.
(Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo by Steve Byrns)

(Have any photos of the crops on your farm? Send them to AgWeb and have them posted on Crop Comments! Be sure to include a caption.)

It was a heart breaker in the Mid-South this year as the potential record crop deteriorated in the field. In the end, the total loss reached into the billions.
Mississippi: The 2009 growing season was probably the most challenging for soybeans in more than 50 years as farmers watched a potential-record crop deteriorate before their eyes. About 40 percent of the crop was lost in the fields, bringing the state's estimated 2009 soybean value to $431.5 million.

(Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Jim Lytle)

(Have any photos of the crops on your farm? Send them to AgWeb and have them posted on Crop Comments! Be sure to include a caption.)


For More Information
AgWeb Crop Comments

You can e-mail Greg Vincent at gvincent@farmjournal.com.
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