Harvest progress continues: Drying grain a challenge for farmers

Soybeans are harvested in central Indiana. Farmers are rushing to finish harvest before winter comes.

Bob Nielsen, Purdue Extension corn specialist, said that good weather conditions in October allowed farmers to harvest at a high speed.

Although rain slowed down progress in some areas in early November, most farmers are making headway.

Harvest progress continues: Drying grain a challenge for farmers

Nielsen

“There’s still a considerable amount of corn left to be harvested,” Nielsen said. “According to USDA estimates, there was still close to 40% of the corn crop yet to be harvested as of early November, which is certainly one to two weeks behind average.

“We need continued good harvest conditions. Temperatures are forecast to drop pretty dramatically, but I don’t think there’s a tremendous amount of precipitation in the forecast, so I think for the next week we should have pretty good conditions to harvest the corn crop.”

Drying grain continues to be a challenge for farmers.

“The grain has a higher moisture content at this point in the season than we’d like it to be,” Nielsen said. “Both farmers and the elevators have to dry the grain more than they’re accustomed to — that is slowing down harvest a little bit.”

Some farmers may be tempted to leave corn in the field to dry out, but Nielsen encouraged them to consider harvesting it as soon as possible.

“Folks need to be reminded that once we get into mid-November and beyond, we get very little grain drying in the field,” he said. “Temperatures are simply too cool.

“I get a little nervous when I hear talk of farmers letting it sit out there until it dries down. That’s just not going to happen. At this point, the longer the matured crop sits in the field, the greater the chance that it’s going to be damaged by strong winds or possibly a wet snow.”

Weak stalks are especially prone to damage. Once damaged, it’s more difficult to harvest.

“I encourage people that, while they may not want to spend the money to dry this grain, remember that it needs to be harvested to avoid the risk of the corn falling down,” Nielsen said.

Erica Quinlan can be reached at 800-426-9438, ext. 193, or equinlan@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Quinlan.

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