(Posted Fri. Sep 9th, 2011)
Sept. 9: Field Notes opened the farm gate this spring and provided followers with an inside look at the activities of several farmers from a variety of geographical areas. Today, this series visited with Illinois grower Tom Martin to see how harvest is progressing thus far on his farm and to gain perspective into the crop in his area before Monday’s release of revised U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates of crop condition, yield and acreage.
“We opened up the fields about 10 days ago and began harvesting some of our early April planted corn,” said Martin. “We were only able to plant about 10 percent of our acreage then, and the moisture for this section is running at about 23 percent. This week, we got into some of our later planted corn from May, which is running in the 27 to 32 percent moisture range. So, we filled some bins and backed off.”
After explaining that he hopes to start harvesting again next week, Martin provided insight into the yields neighbors are reporting at this point.
“As we talked about this summer, there is some variability dependent mostly upon the soil in different areas of the fields and which portions received different levels of rain, but overall I am hearing that many growers in my area are seeing yields of more than 180 bushels per acre,” said Martin. “There are some lesser yields in our two- to three-county area depending upon soil types or agronomic practices, but overall I think that people are pleasantly surprised at the yields coming out of their fields this year.”
Next, he shared his plans moving forward with the warning that they are dependent upon the weather.
“In the next week, we will be drying some corn down and getting it moved off of the farm,” said Martin. “We hope that we can get going again and harvest some 25 percent moisture content and under corn and, once we get started, not stop.”
Martin did note that it rained on his fields last night for the first time in approximately two months. Over the weekend, forecasts predict that additional precipitation will add to the half-an-inch of moisture, thus slowing harvest for a time.
“Hopefully, Monday we can get going again and be going every day until we finish,” he concluded.