The past two weeks have been mostly too wet for harvest. The soil profile is saturated so additional rain now is running off the land wherever there’s grade, moving in drainage tile, or ponding at the soil surface. Crops are no longer using water and average temps are falling, so it takes longer to dry the soil as we get later into the fall. The good news, it’s still relatively early and the forecast looks to improve over the next 14 days. We are not behind schedule at this point.
Soybean harvest has been on hold lately. Fields harvested so far were generally good or very good. Farms with ample drainage have the best yields. Soybeans lose and reabsorb moisture readily, so when the weather finally turns dry they will become fit for harvest quickly. The soil will take longer than the beans to dry, which can be frustrating. Harvest loss is a concern in this situation, after several cycles of wet and dry they tend to shatter easily. In addition, delayed harvest can result in losses from lodging and over-drying.
More corn has been harvested lately than soybeans. Typically farmers harvest all their beans first, but not this year. Corn is easier to harvest in wet conditions. Corn kernels don’t absorb water as easily and corn combine heads don’t need to run as close to the ground. Big tires or tracks on combines and grain carts allow them to operate in surprisingly muddy field conditions. Corn yields are good to very good this year, but some reports have been a little less than expected. Drainage again is an important factor as well as fungicide application and nitrogen available late season. The wet and warm season created a high risk environment for stalk rot problems, which could lead to harvest losses from lodging and ear droppage. Overall we have a very good crop this year, and we are anxious to get it harvested as soon as the weather allows.