This season brought its weather challenges for pockets in the Corn Belt, but some farmers say it’s been a great weather year. This week’s I-80 Harvest tour takes us to a key ‘I’ State.
Northern Illinois farmers say they had almost perfect conditions for most of this growing season, which is producing a great crop.
The combine is moving and the ripper is running. Maple Park, Illinois farmer, Steve Pitstick, doesn’t have many complaints.
“It’s the year we dream about or plan for in January that rarely happens,” says Maple Park, Illinois farmer, Steve Pitstick.
He says it’s because the area received a shot of rain when needed and moderate temperatures throughout the growing season.
“The last couple of years has been extremely wet in June. It’s taken away some top end. We finally have a year where we can get all of the yield that we pay for this year,” says Pitstick.
While farmers may not say it, those yields are good.
“I would say we’re probably 10 percent above average on corn anyway. Beans, it’s just a little above average. We had some good beans the last couple of years,” says Pitstick.
While Pitstick and his crew are moving now, he says there’s still a hurdle this year. That’s price.
“Every year is a challenge. This year was a different challenge. It is more trying to figure out when to price grain. Some years it’s production, some years it’s markets,” says Pitstick.
Roughly forty miles West in Ashton, Illinois, this growing season produced another crop.
“Wonderful. It’s a good crop and the combine is running good,” says Ashton, Illinois farmer, Don Kennay.
It’s one more milestone for this father-son duo.
“I was born in 1926. I’ve probably harvested seventy years or something like that,” says Don Kennay.
“I’m at forty years of farming. I don’t know if I will make it to seventy-four or seventy-five years, but I’ll try,” says John Kennay.
While these two are happy to work together, they’ve even more pleased. It’s a good crop year.
“This crop is a little better than 2014. It’s probably 10 to 15 percent above average. It’s a good crop. Beans are good. There are a lot of 70 or 75 bushel per acre beans,” says John Kennay.
Kennay says some areas received too much rain, but it won’t hurt much.
“We have some low, black dirt that will be hurt from too much rain. This particular farm that we’re on is sandy. It loved it. This is some of the best corn on this farm ever,” says John Kennay.
While these farmers are thankful for a bountiful harvest, they’re also grateful to wrap up another year together.
“I can’t watch TV. I have to be doing something. We get along good. We’ve done it so long that it comes natural,” says Don Kennay.
Pitstick says he’s about 40 percent done with beans and 25 percent on corn. Both have equally impressive yields. Both farmers say they’re hearing of white mold and SDS in soybeans but it shouldn’t shave off too much yield.
However, they say there is a lot of corn disease in certain hybrids. It’s too early to tell if it will create a loss.