Harvest slow

Rain and snow are delaying Davis County’s harvest this fall. This cornfield in the southern part of Davis County will have to wait to be harvested until the ground is firm enough to support heavy equipment. Elevator owners say less than 50% of the county’s corn crop was harvested by Nov. 1.

Davis County farmers are harvesting corn ranging from 165-230 bushels per acre and beans ranging from 50-70 bushels per acre this fall, reports Robert Newton of Troy Elevator.

“That figure is good for corn,” he says. “It may not the best, but close. However, the beans are not quite as good as last year.”

Brett Barnhart reported beans coming into Hoskin Elevator are averaging in the mid-60 bushels-per-acre range, while corn is ranging from 160-180 bushels per acre.

Newton said it was too cool in August for really good beans. “Actually, all the crops needed more sun this year,” he added.

Davis County farmers have experienced wide swings in climate conditions in 2018 and 2019. Last year, farmers struggled to raise crops during a drought. This year, they had to delay planting due to spring rains, and fall harvest is now being delayed by rain and snow.

Newton estimated Friday only 35% of the county’s corn and beans have been harvested. Barnhart estimates 50% of the beans in the southern part of the county have been harvested, but says the percentage of corn harvested is less.

Davis County farmers are not only struggling to complete harvest, but struggling with moisture content as well.

Newton said beans are averaging 14.5% moisture, and those coming in are wet. “Only 1% of the beans have been dried,” he said.

Barnhart said moisture figures for the beans coming into Hoskin Elevator are mostly in the 13-14.5% range and those are being air-dried.

Keith Amstutz, who farms in the Pulaski area, says beans should be down to 13% moisture before selling.

He said moisture content in corn should be no more than 15.5% to sell and 14% to store. The Amstutz family’s corn planted in April registers 17-18% moisture content while the corn planted in early June measures 22% moisture.

Newton said the moisture content of this fall’s corn coming into the elevator ranges from 18.5% up to 31%.

“We’re still testing corn that is coming in at 30%, and there’s only been 2% difference in the last three weeks,” he said.

Barnhart said the moisture content of the corn coming into Hoskin Elevator ranges from 18-20%, and “we’re drying most of that.”

Newton said the weather forecast looks good for the next couple of weeks and he is hopeful farmers can finish their harvesting in that time.

However, he said farmers should be careful about compaction in the fall. “If the fields are muddy, wait a day or so,” he says. “Fall compaction is bad for next year’s crops.

“Don’t rush things; stay safe, and thank the Lord every day,” Newton added.

Dean Hougland, who has 200 acres of corn and 200 acres of beans southern Davis County, has been getting ready for a sale and hasn’t started harvesting yet. “I got my crops in late,” he said. “My corn is still registering at the 25% moisture level  and my beans are wet. I’ll just have to go with the flow.”  

Some farmers, though, are feeling the time crunch. Amstutz said the beans are at least three to four weeks behind schedule.

Not only that, many terraces were damaged by heavy rains and need to be repaired. Farmers are also getting anxious to apply fall fertilizer, Amstutz said.

“Fall is getting short,” he added.

Newton said farmers nowadays plant earlier and harvest earlier. “Farmers can now plant in April instead of May with genetic improvements,” he said. “They used to set Thanksgiving as a goal for completing harvest, now they want to be done by Nov. 1.”