Archive for Thursday, October 7, 2004

Record harvest looms in Douglas County

October 7, 2004

Thanks to this summer's abundant rain, Douglas County farmers are poised to have a record corn and soybean harvest this fall.

With more than two-thirds of the corn harvest completed, yields have average between 160 and 200 bushels to the acre, according to Bill Wood, Douglas County agent. Soybean harvest is estimated by him to be about 50 percent completed and the yields there have been 40 to 60 bushels. Both yield numbers are double of what the five-year average has been -- corn has averaged 92 bushels and soybeans 23.8.

"I think harvest is going very well," said Wood. "Our farmers are smiling. The yields have more than doubled over the five-year averages. One old farmer said 'I've never seen it like this.' I said we probably won't see it again, either.

"Field after field after field are doing so well it's just blowing my mind," he said. "The elevators are getting full."

Steve Wilson of Baldwin Feed and Grain can attest to all of that, too.

"Harvest is going well," said Wilson. "We're seeing yields on corn that have never been seen before. We're seeing 150 on up and some reports of 200. As far as yield, you can't beat it. You've got 80-year-old farmers saying they haven't seen anything like it. It's unbelievable.

"We're trying to push it through the system," he said. "That's the problem, but it's a good problem."

The area received around 38 inches of rain this year and the majority of that came during the growing season as opposed to the drought-like conditions farmers faced a year ago. Last year's corn crop averaged 79 bushels to the acre compared to this year's 150-200. Wood said there can be no doubt that it was the rain that made the difference.

"Exactly -- that's is the key. We had rain that was better than you could have if you were irrigating the crops. It came at the right time," he said.

September turned a little dry and Wood said some rain would be welcome. Friday's showers didn't do much to slow down harvest.

"I don't think the rain slowed it down," he said. "Couldn't do much Friday, but the combines were running again Saturday.

"It's just a wonderful harvest," said Wood. "It's fun. Sometimes where you're riding the combine and the harvest isn't going well, it's not a lot of fun. But when you're having 160-bushel crops, it brings a smile to your face."

The totals for this year's harvest won't be known for awhile, but there's another sign of how it's going. That's the drop in prices for both corn and soybeans.

"It's supply and demand," said Wood. "The more you raise, the cheaper it is."

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